Separation and divorce are difficult for everyone. But it is often a bigger struggle for the children than anyone else. They have questions, emotional turmoil, and, inevitably, anger. That anger and hurt might be at both parents or just one.  When this happens, the child may not wish to be around a particular parent and refuse visitation.

Depending on how the child is, following court-mandated supervised visits can be a serious challenge. And, despite the child’s feelings on visitation, the truth is that the visits are not optional, nor are they up to the child’s preferences. Just like children may not wish to go to school or not drink soda, the choice is not up to them.

What Can Happen to Parents Who Do Not Enforce the Visitation?

  1. They may file a motion for an Order to Show Cause. This will often lead to an investigation into whether you really tried to get your child to the visits.
  2. You may request to modify custody if you feel the opposite parent is influencing the child.
  3. The non-custodial parent may request reunification therapy or counseling.
  4. Judges are not always sympathetic to a child’s refusal to see the other parent, especially when it is a young child. Consequently, the custodial parent can be brought up on contempt charges.
  5. The judge will order the parent to be sure the visits happen.
  6. Parents who still don’t comply can face fines or jail time.

Failing to take your child(ren) to supervised visits has a more significant effect on the parent than the child. So, what can you do to help your child see the necessity of visitation with a parent they are angry at? After all, if the court orders supervised visitation, they need to take place.

When Children Refuse Visitation

  • Child Refuses Parent VisitationNotify your lawyer and document that your child doesn’t want to cooperate with a scheduled visit. Do so via email or text so there is a written record. Be sure to state what happened and any efforts you made to convince your child to go to the visit.
  • Listen to your child’s reasons for not wanting to see the other parent. Has something changed at the other parent’s home? Is the visit conflicting with a school or sports activity? Has there been a physical altercation? Talk to your child and see if you can determine why they don’t want to visit.  It’s important to determine the underlying cause of why they refuse vistation.
  • Try talking to the other parent. It may be necessary to do this with your legal counsel’s help. The conversations might not change your child’s mind, but at least the other parent knows you are trying.
  • If you suspect there may be abuse, take action immediately. Write down anything that supports your suspicions. When talking to your child, be careful not to say anything that coaches them into saying something.
  • Do your part to make the transitions between you and the other parent go as smooth as possible.

You are responsible for ensuring the supervised visits take place. But you don’t have to do it alone. The staff at Family Alliance Services is here to help. Our supervisors will observe your child’s visits and intervene if necessary so you can be sure that all is going well.  In choosing us as a supervised visit location, you can know that we are here for all parties involved. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through this difficult time.