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What if a Child Does Not Want to Attend Their Visitation?

Child custody orders are legally binding, even if your child does not want to visit their other parent.

Everyone knows that divorce is hardest on the children. As children get older and start forming their own opinions, it can make things more difficult when there is a court order in place. When parents’ divorce or separate, the court will order specific periods of possession of the child for both parties. Sometimes, children do not agree with this visitation schedule, and they refuse to spend time with the other parent. There are legal consequences for failing to abide by court orders. Below, our Texas family lawyer explains in more detail.

Consequences for Refusing Visitation

Despite what your parents want, the courts expect parents to co-parent, which includes facilitating and enforcing the visitation court order. Any time a parent denies visitation, they can be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the court order. This remains true even if the parent wants the child to visit but the child refuses.

It is critical for parents to remember that they are the ones in control and that they have a duty to encourage the child to maintain a healthy relationship with them and their other parent. It is important to listen to your child’s opinions and reasoning for wanting to refuse visitation while promoting the importance of quality time with both parents when they are acting in the child’s best interests.

Do Children Ever Have a Say in Visitation Matters?

Children are not given the right to determine who their primary caregiver will be, or when and how often they will visit the other parent. However, parents can ask the court to interview the child in the judge’s chambers when a child has a preference for access, conservatorship, or possession. When a child is 12 years old or older, the court is required to interview the child before appointing a primary conservator. If the child is not yet 12 years old, the court has the discretion to determine if an interview is necessary.

What to Do if Your Child Refuses Visitation With You

The most important thing to do if your child is refusing visitation with you is to try and comply with the court order. Remain positive and patient when you deal with your child and the other parent. If you believe the other parent is trying to alienate your child from you, consider contacting a mental health professional who can help mend the relationship. You may also be able to petition the court and ask them to modify the time, place, or manner of the visitation.

Our Family Lawyer in Texas Can Help With Visitation Issues

If your child is refusing visitation with you or their other parent, our Texas family lawyer can help. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, we know how to overcome the challenges a refusal presents and can help you modify an existing order or prove parental alienation. Call us now at (210) 222-9132 or contact us online to request a consultation.

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