Child custody orders are legally-binding and there are harsh penalties for parents who choose not to comply with them. What happens, though, when a child refuses visitation? Children may at first show reluctance to visit a non-custodial parent before flat out refusing to go. So, is this allowed by the courts in California, and how can you make your child visit their other parent when they do not want to?
Parents Can Face Serious Consequences for Non-Compliance
When parents do not comply with court-ordered child custody, they face serious consequences. These include being held in contempt of court, fines, and modifications to the custody order that benefit the other parent. It does not matter the reason for non-compliance, even when it was the fact that the child did not want to go. Until a child reaches the age of 18 years old, is emancipated, or there is a modified child custody order approved by the court, parents must make legitimate efforts to comply with the visitation schedule.
It is important to note that the age of the child may be taken into consideration if they are refusing visitation. When it is a teenager that is refusing, it can make the case a bit more complex. A court may be more willing to give their preference more weight, but you still need to obtain a modification to change the original order.
What to Do if Your Child Refuses Visitation
If your child is refusing visitation with their other parent, it may seem as though there is little you can do about it. However, there are important steps you should take. If the case escalates, you may have to testify in court and it is important to have the proper evidence when you do.
Start by asking your child why they do not want to visit the other parent. If you cannot resolve the problem and your child continues to refuse visitation, it is important to document each instance of refusal. The most important information to document includes:
- The date and time of the refusal
- The reason given for the refusal
- Any effort you made to resolve the issue, and
- Any communication between you and the other parent regarding the refusal
It is critical to tell the other parent any time your child refuses to visit with them. The best way to do this is by text so you can have documented written communication that you can show the court.
Contact Our Child Custody Lawyer in Santa Clara County Today
It is a very difficult situation when your child refuses visitation with their other parent. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Santa Clara child custody lawyer understands the challenges you face and will help you take the appropriate action, such as obtaining a modification from the court. Call us now at 408-688-9153 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about your legal options.