Do I Have To Force My Child To Visit Their Other Parent?
This is one of the most difficult and emotionally-charged questions that I get, and one that is equally hard to answer. Let me begin by stating that, if there’s a court order for a visitation schedule, then you must abide by that order and make the child go. Violating that order can result in legal consequences such as contempt of court and even jail time. Your failure to abide by the order might also result in changes to the current custody schedule whereby the other parent gets more time. So try to avoid violating the order if at all possible.
However, with that being said, no one, including the judge, is expecting you to physically drag your child to that scheduled visitation. You don’t have to worry about having to physically grab the child to put the child in the car if the child is resisting. You don’t need to go through that nor do you have to put the child through that. What I would recommend however, is that you first talk to your child. Listen to your child and figure out why it is that the child does not want to attend the scheduled visitation. Barring any concerns from any physical or emotional abuse, here are my top 3 suggestions for how to handle a child’s resistance to court ordered visitation:
- The best thing that I would suggest you do is simply encourage your child to go to the visit with the other parent.
- Secondly, talk to the other parent and try to come up with an amicable solution between the two of you to see if you can both sit down with the child and make the transition easier.
- And thirdly, you may consider counseling for the child to help him or her go through the difficult emotions of the divorce.
In addition to these steps, I also recommend that you be really sure that you are protecting yourself legally. Do not do anything that might be construed as you withholding the child from the other parent and violating that visitation order. I strongly recommend that you notate each time and the circumstances surrounding the child’s refusal to attend the scheduled visitation. These notes will be important in protecting yourself in case you have to testify in court before the judge.
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