What to Do When Your Child Does Not Want to See His or Her Other Parent
As a parent, it is never easy to share custody of a child, and it never gets any easier to send the child back to their other parent’s home when it is his or her time for visitation. However, when a child turns to their mother or father at the time of pickup or drop off and says, “I do not want to go,” it can be heartbreaking to make them. After all, there must be a reason that they do not want to spend time with their other parent, right?
Even if your child does have a good reason for not wanting to visit their other parent, you cannot legally allow them to skip visitation without going through the courts first. Unfortunately, Florida statutes regarding custody and the parent-child relationship are contradictory, as one advocates always doing what is best for the child, while others promise swift and severe punishment for any parent who tries to interfere with the child’s relationship with the other parent.
If your child does not want to see their other parent, and if you indulge them and allow them to stay home with you, you will be held in contempt of court, and quite possibly subject to the harsh punishments of the court, including a re-visitation of the custody agreement.
Avoid Contempt When Your Child Refuses to See Their Other Parent
If you truly believe that a threat exists to your child’s well-being, or if your child is older and you cannot make them do anything against their will – including visit their other parent – there are steps that you can take to avoid being found in contempt of court orders. They include taking the following measures:
- Document all attempts to adhere to the court ordered custody schedule. To protect yourself against claims that you encouraged your child to act out against their other parent, record the date and time of each refusal as well as the circumstances leading up to the refusal. If your child is older, record the details on how you attempted to manage the situation and to get them to change their mind.
- Consult a child psychologist. It is important that the court understands that your child’s fears and concerns regarding the other parent are, if not valid, at least real. Unfortunately, your word is not much, considering you stand to gain from their refusal to see their other parent. A child psychologist can offer a third-party, unbiased view of your child’s state of mind.
- Ask the psychologist to testify on your behalf. If it comes down to it, ask the psychologist to testify in court to back up your claims of innocence in the whole situation.
- Consider hiring an independent attorney for your child. While not necessary, it may be helpful for your child to be appointed his or her own attorney. This is usually reserved for extreme circumstances.
Consult with a Boca Raton Child Custody Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, we understand that it can be difficult to make your child visit their other parent if, for whatever reason, they are adamantly opposed to doing so. However, allowing them to break the custody agreement could put you in contempt of court, and therefore, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our Boca Raton child custody lawyers can evaluate the circumstances leading up to your child’s refusal and help you proceed in a way that is legal yet beneficial to both you and your child. To speak with one of our legal experts today, contact our family law firm at 561-391-9943.