As responsible co-parents you know the importance of following the court order regarding custody and visitation of your children. It is likely that you had to endure a great deal to get it, whether you reached it by agreement or a Texas family court ordered it. Sometimes, however, issues arise that make following the court order more difficult then anticipated. One of those issues is when a child refuses to comply with the court order by going with the other parent during their visitation time. Although this situation may be completely out of control it can have far reaching consequences for you and for your family.
The Root of the Problem
There are several reasons why a child may not want to visit the other parent, some of them include:
If the reason the child doesn't want to attend the visits is related to health and safety of the child then call your attorney, and the proper authorities immediately. If the reason is not related to the health and safety of the the child then the order must be followed and there can be severe legal consequences if it is not.
The Law in Texas
Under Texas law custodial parents are responsible for making sure that the visits with the other parent occur, family courts want you to co-parent, and when that doesn't happen because the child refuses, it may end up putting you in a bad light because it appears that you aren't doing your job as a parent. In addition, Texas family court judges expect that their orders will be followed. If the child is a teenager then the court may look a little more favorably upon you since most judges understand the parent teenager dynamic and the fact that teenagers are more difficult to handle. Ultimately the call as to whether or not you are in contempt of court belongs to the judge.
Passive contempt is the situation when a parent has a child ready to go, the child goes outside, and then refuses to go with the other parent, and the custodial parent claims to have fulfilled their obligation because they had the child ready and outside. You don't want to be in the position of being the parent that did this and be accused of such in front of a judge, ultimately as the parent it is your responsibility to make sure that the visits occur whether the child wants to go or not.
What to Do When a Child Refuses to Visit the Other Parent
If your child is refusing to visit the other parent then you should manage the situation in the most positive way possible. You should encourage visitation and try to understand what is causing the child to refuse. It is perfectly fine to consider your child's opinions, but you should try to impress upon them that both parents love them and want to spend time with them. In the end you must realize that you are the parent and you have the final say. You don't want to be in a legal bind if the visits don't occur.
When trying to resolve the situation, or better yet before a situation arises, you should evaluate your own behavior and recognize whether or not it is influencing the child to not want to attend the visits. For example, are you bad mouthing the other parent, are you saying things that would cause the child not to want to visit? If you are doing these types of things then you should stop immediately.
Another helpful tip would be to work together with the other parent to identify the problem and try to come up with a workable solution. You would be surprised at what can be accomplished when two parents put aside their differences for the sake of their child.
If after you have done your best and the visits don't occur then you should notify your Texas family attorney and the other parent of the circumstances and make sure that they method you use to notify them will keep an accurate record of when and how the notification took place and the reasons for the missed visits. You want to be able to paint as clear a picture as possible for a judge if it comes to that.
Where to Turn
If you are facing a situation in where a child is refusing to visit or you have another child custody issue then you can call the Law Office of Chad Zubi for a free no obligation case evaluation. You can make an appointment by calling (832) 777-8924 or by leaving your contact information on the contact page, an attorney will get back with you as soon as possible.
Chad Zubi Houston Family and Criminal Law Attorney.