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When Children Refuse Visitation Time with the Other Parent – What Should You Do?

Categorized as Child Custody & Visitation

When your child refuses visitation time with your ex, what’s a parent to do? There are times as a child gets older that he or she no longer wants to go and spend the entire weekend with the other parent. Kids have things to do, and they don’t want to give up their entire weekend.

To be honest, if they’re teenagers they probably don’t want to spend any time with you either. So what can you do?

What To Do When Your Child Refuses Visitation with the Non-Custodial Parent

First, there is no law that permits them to say “no” to visitation with the non-custodial parent. Kids don’t have any right to say that they are not going. So when they won’t go, it looks bad on you – the custodial parent – and has legal implications.

Contempt for Interference with Visitation Time

The custodial parent can be held in contempt by a judge for interfering with court-ordered parenting time. Naturally, fights start with the non-custodial parent, who often blames you for the lack of enthusiasm that your child has about the visitation time.

Finding a Solution to Refusing Visitation

There is no easy answer to the problem. Sometimes a therapist is in order, but more often than not, the child is growing up and wants some independence. He wants some say in what he has to do. How the parents handle that independence will determine the level of discord in the family.

 I often hear the non-custodial parent say that this is not a problem they created and they don’t want to force the child to go.

To be fair, parents force their children to do things all the time. Think about all the things that your kids want, or don’t want to do, and your reaction to that.

  • If your child doesn’t want to go to school, do you entertain the thought of not letting him go?
  • Do you let your child eat pizza every night and drink beer?
  • Have guests of the opposite sex overnight in their room?

You are the parent, and of course, you exercise your will on your child. Otherwise, you’d just be the roommate and not the parent. So stating that you don’t want to force your child to do something isn’t the answer.

Seeking a Modification of Visitation and Parenting Time

What can be the answer when a child refuses visitation time, however, is a modification to the parenting schedule. If there is more than one child, the schedule which once included all the children can be modified. Perhaps the younger children will continue with every other weekend, but a different schedule can be worked out for the other child. The non-custodial parent can stop in and see the child for shorter periods of time, but more often.

The custodial parent has to be flexible and allow the non-custodial parent to arrange a schedule that works well for both the child and the non-custodial parent.

It makes life more difficult for the parents, that is a given. There are more pickups and drop-offs to negotiate. But if everyone is invested in what is in the child’s best interest, give the child a say as to his parenting time with the other parent. The child has no legal right to this, but if both parents can agree to give this child some input into the visitation schedule, he or she is more likely to go without a lot of fighting or resistance. Which in the end should make everyone happy.

If Anderson & Boback are dedicated to helping you make the best decisions by explaining all your options and taking the necessary action to protect you and your child’s interests.  Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about your rights under the Illinois college expense law.

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