You are in a challenging position. Your child doesn’t want to go to their scheduled custody or visitation time, but your custody agreement requires you to send your child with their other parent. What you do next may depend partly on your child’s age and reason for refusing to see the other parent.
You Need to Make Your Child Reasonably Available
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make your child reasonably available for visits or shared custody. What “reasonably available” means may change as your child gets older. For example, your toddler may have a tantrum when it’s time to go with the other parent, but you still have a lot of control over your child’s activities and can insist that they go. However, you may not have as much control over an older teenager if the teen wants to remain at your house because it’s easier to participate in extracurricular activities, social events, and work.
Regardless of your child’s age, it’s essential to find out why your child doesn’t want to go with the other parent. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should contact a child custody attorney immediately so that you don’t put your child in harm’s way or violate the custody order.
Document Everything and Get Help
The consequences of your child’s refusal to go with the other parent will depend on many things, including the flexibility, patience, and understanding of the other parent. With so much uncertainty, you may consider:
- Notifying the other parent by text or email
- Keeping your own diary or record of the incident, including the date, time, any reasons your child gives for refusing to go, and any steps you took to encourage your child to go
- Contacting a family lawyer if this is an ongoing issue
You want to avoid a contempt charge that could come if you don’t comply with a visitation agreement and you want to protect your child’s mental health. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our Bloomfield Hills family law attorneys if you believe your child is refusing visitation with good reason and your custody agreement needs to be amended.
We will go the extra mile for you and your children. Please call us, text us, or complete our online contact form to learn more.