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Your Rights When a Child Refuses Parenting Time

Posted on in Parenting Time (Visitation)

Your Rights When a Child Refuses Parenting TimeParents normally understand the importance of each of them having parenting time after a divorce. It is a legal right that each parent is presumed to have, and the children benefit from the regular contact and relationships they form. However, what should parents do if a child refuses to visit one of them? Teenagers can insist on their right to decide which parent they spend time with, not thinking that it would violate a legal agreement. Both parents are responsible for solving any conflicts related to parenting time.

Right to Parenting Time

You can force your child to attend your parenting time, but he or she is likely to be miserable if he or she does not want to be there. You should ask your child why he or she does not want to visit you. You may need to ask specific questions if your child does not give you a clear answer, such as:

  • Are you comfortable spending time with me and living in my home?;
  • Is there anything I can do to make our time together more enjoyable?; and
  • Is there something else you would rather be doing when you visit me?

The last question may be crucial when talking to a teenager, who may feel that your scheduled visits disrupt his or her social life. Your teenager may be mature enough to have a say in your parenting schedule. Be willing to adjust your schedule to fit his or her needs, but tell your teenager why you still want to see him or her regularly.

Your Obligation to Obey the Agreement

If you are the other parent in this scenario, you may wonder if you will be punished if your child refuses to visit your co-parent. You could be held in contempt of your parenting agreement if you do not try to comply with it. Saying that your child did not want to visit is not an excuse. You should:

  • Ask your child why he or she does not want to visit your co-parent;
  • Contact your co-parent to inform him or her about the situation; and
  • Try to facilitate communication between the two.

You may have a right to withhold the visit if your child claims that your co-parent is abusing him or her. However, you must weigh whether the claim is believable and contact the authorities if there is reasonable suspicion that your co-parent is a danger to your child.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

You should contact your lawyer if your child refuses to obey the terms of your parenting agreement. A Warrenville, Illinois, family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can explain your rights and responsibilities as a parent. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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