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What if My Child is Refusing Visitation After a Divorce?

Posted by Furman & Zavatsky | Aug 16, 2018

If you have a Los Angeles family law court order granting you visitation rights with your child, you are entitled to visit with your child pursuant to the terms of the order. But occasionally, a child will refuse to see the non-custodial parent despite the child visitation order.  What can be done to improve the situation so you can see your child more often? Typically, this type of issue will be handled differently depending on the age of the child.

Child Refusing Visitation after Divorce

You need to know how Los Angeles County family courts deal with children of various ages to clearly understand how your case will proceed. In basic terms, the older a child, the more likely they will be allowed to have some discretion on whether visitation will occur. In fact, a child's desire is considered when the court determines the initial visitation order.

However, when a child is too young to make rational decisions, their wishes are normally disregarded. As they become a little older and more mature, the family law court will consider their desires for child visitation. When they become teenagers, the court might even give them full discretion on whether visitation will happen.

There are cases where this level of discretion is written into the court's child visitation order. It's important to note that the relationship between a parent and their child is a factor the judge will consider when they are making a decision on child custody orders. Clearly, the stronger the bond between the parent and child will typically result in more visitation time that the parent will receive in the child custody order.

When a child refuses to follow the court's visitation schedule over time, it shows the court that the current child visitation schedule is probably not in the child's best interest. Therefore, in these types of situations, the judge is more open to changing the child's custodial arrangement.

If you are involved in the divorce process and have issues with your child refusing visitation with one parent, you need to consult with the Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Furman & Zavatsky LLP. Our experienced attorneys will need to closely review all the details in order to determine the best strategy moving forward. Now that we have covered a basic overview of what a court will typically consider when a child refuses visitation, let's take a closer look at some specific steps to take below.

Altering the Child Visitation Order

If your child is refusing your visitation, it may paradoxically be a sign that visitation is not frequent enough. It could be that your relationship with your child is failing due to a visitation order that is too sparse. Your relationship with your child is important, and you should be permitted to spend more time with your child so that your relationship does not end.

Bringing the problem to the attention of the court is a necessary first step in repairing the relationship. In order to change a child custody order, you will need to file a motion with the Los Angeles County family law court. This type of motion is essentially a request and needs to show all the facts that would support a change in the child custody order. For example, it might include the information there is a deteriorating relationship between one parent and the child.

The court has the discretion to change the child custody arrangement, or they could even order a trial to consider the issues. Obviously, it can prove to be a major problem for one parent if the child refuses to follow the visitation order. If you are facing this type of situation, you need to call our Los Angeles child custody attorneys to review the details and legal options. By speaking with our child custody and visitation attorneys, you can decide whether it makes sense to request a new visitation order that permits you to spend more time with your child, which in turn will strengthen your relationship.

Altering Child Custody

In some circumstances, it may make sense to ask the court to alter the custody order to give you joint or sole custody. By giving you custody, you will be able to spend much more time with your child and develop a stronger relationship.  Why might a court alter custody? Perhaps the custody order and visitation order weighed too heavily in your ex-spouse's favor from the start, and now it makes sense to change it to prevent a loss of a parent-child relationship. The court has the authority to alter the custody order and may be willing to do so if the situation warrants it.

What if My Ex-Spouse is Encouraging My Child to Refuse Visitation?

Sometimes the custodial parent will encourage the child to refuse visitation. This can be for any number of reasons, but if you believe it to be the case, it is important to speak with a Los Angeles family law attorney to protect your parental rights. If your ex-spouse is encouraging your child to refuse to visit with you despite your visitation order, you can bring an action against your ex-spouse in court for contempt. This is a serious step, and it is advisable to talk to our child custody attorneys at Furman & Zavatsky to determine the best course of action to protect your parental rights.

Teenager Refusing Visitation

As stated above, if your child is a teenager refusing visitation, and your ex-spouse is not behind it, the situation is much more difficult.  Courts give some discretion to older children regarding visitation. As your child grows older, it becomes much more unlikely that the court will attempt to enforce visitation. The court will ascertain the reason your child is refusing visitation, and if the reasons are sound, then the court may take no further steps to enforce visitation.

Child Visitation Order Modification

Child visitation orders can be modified in Los Angeles family law courts. They can be modified by mutual agreement between the parents or if the evidence is presented that the visitation order is not in the child's best interests.

The court will also consider the wishes of a teenage child when it comes to visitation. If your child refuses visitation, the court may order that your visitation rights be decreased. It is important to your parent-child relationship that this does not happen, which is why it is advisable to speak with our child custody lawyers before taking any further steps related to your child's custody and visitation order.

Contact a Los Angeles Child Visitation Attorney

If your child is refusing your visitation, it is imperative that you determine the root cause and talk about your options to increase visitation with an attorney. It is possible to rectify the situation with a change in custody or a change in the visitation order.

If your ex-spouse is the cause, then you can ask the court to hold your ex-spouse in contempt. The court will consider your child's best interests and if your child is older, your child's preference for visitation. If your child is refusing visitation and you want more time with your child, contact the Los Angeles child visitation attorneys at Furman & Zavatsky to discuss your legal options. You deserve to spend time with your child, and we can help. Call our law firm at 818-528-3471 to discuss your legal situation, so you do not lose your relationship with your child.

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Call a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer

Family law disputes have the potential to have a significant impact on your quality of life and overall happiness. As a result, it is critical for you to protect your rights to the fullest extent possible when involved in a dispute related to family law. The lawyers of Furman & Zavatsky have the skill and experience to resolve your case as favorably as possible and provide compassionate and understanding legal counsel and representation. We also offer flat fee legal services for divorce and family law issues.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys, call our office today at 818-528-3471. Read our blog on how to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.

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