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Nov 8 2021

Can a Child Refuse to Visit a Parent?

You have child custody arrangements that were either handed down by the court or approved by the court, and they guide how you and your children’s other parent divide your time with your children. You might be satisfied with the arrangement, but if one of your children does not want to visit his or her other parent, what choice do you have? 

The way the law sees it is that the custody order was made in accordance with the child’s best interests, which makes it your parental obligation to ensure that it is carried out. Discuss the best course of action with a Minnesota family law attorney who can help.

The Other Parent’s Visitation Schedule

If you are the primary custodial parent and your children’s other parent has a visitation schedule, sticking with that visitation schedule can be exceptionally difficult if one of your children is refusing to go. The fact is, however, that the decision was made by the court – in an effort to uphold your ex’s parental rights and in accordance with your child’s best interests, and in this context, your child’s opinions are not considered material. 

If you are supposed to have all of your children ready to be picked up by their other parent at 6 PM on Tuesdays, you are legally obligated to do so. Failing to uphold your end of this responsibility can leave you on the hook in terms of the court. 

Your Child’s Age

Your child’s age can play a role in this predicament. Consider the following:

  • If your child is a toddler or is in elementary school, you are responsible for getting him or her where he or she needs to be, including his or her other parent for court-ordered visitation.
  • If your child is a teenager, on the other hand, you may have far less parental control – as he or she gains greater independence. 

In other words, the court is more likely to understand your conundrum if you can’t get your high school kid to his or her other parent’s than it would if you can’t control your cranky kindergartener. One solution may be proposing a scheduling modification that is better aligned with your older child’s own schedule. 

If You Have Reason to Suspect Abuse

While no one expects you to deliver your child to his or her abuser, this does not mean that ignoring a court order is the way to address the issue. If you have a credible reason for thinking that your child’s visitation with his or her other parent could be harmful in some way, it’s time to address your concerns with the court – not to take matters into your own hands.  

Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Minnesota Family Law Attorney

If your child is refusing to visit his or her other parent, it can put you in a considerable bind. You are, in fact, required by law to adhere to the visitation schedule ordered by the court, and having an unhappy child on your hands is no walk in the park. The seasoned Minnesota family law attorneys at Atticus Family Law are sensitive to the delicate nature of your situation and are committed to helping you resolve the matter as effectively and efficiently as possible. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us today. 

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