The parents have filed suit, went to mediation, attended trial, or settled their issues as they relate to child custody, visitation, and support. As a result, the parents have a visitation and holiday schedule, established modes of communication, and settled on child support. The parents are satisfied or as best as they can be in the situation. Anything missing? The children. Children are not involved in the process of establishing custody, visitation, and support. So, what happens when they don’t like the outcome? On this week’s #FamilyFriday article the attorneys of ERA Law Group discuss what a parent’s role is when their children refuse to go to visitation.
When determining custody, the Court’s are provided with many factors to consider when making their decision. One of those factors is – what do the children want? However, Judges are hesitant to permit a child to come to Court. On the rare occasion and generally when the child is mature enough to handle the situation, Judges will speak with the child in chambers without the presence of his or her parents. Even in those situations where the child does have an opportunity to express their desires, Judges may ultimately make a determination as to visitation that does not coincide with the child’s preferences. Or, in less litigious circumstances, parents will settle their disagreements and make a visitation schedule that is best for themselves and what they believe is in the best interest of their children. Again, the children may not agree.
When I get the call from a parent stating that their children don’t want to go attend visitation, it often goes like this:
Parent: “My child refuses to see their parent during the scheduled time, what do I do?”
Answer: “Until your child is 18, it is not up to your children. You, as their parent, must make sure that they adhere to the visitation schedule.”
Parent: “But, s/he is 17 and literally refuses. How am I physically supposed to make them?”
And, that is the problem. No, it is not expected that you physically force your children out the door but it is expected that you encourage them to attend, not create a barrier for them to attend, and, most importantly, not applaud your child’s refusal to attend. Be sure to discuss the issue with the other parent and discuss possible resolutions. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open between your child and the other parent so that the child communicates his/her desires to both of you equally.
If you find yourself and children in this situation, call the attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC and ask what options you may have available. Perhaps it is time to modify the current arrangement or explore other options. Call us today for a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION at (410) 919-1790.