Typically, all custody agreements have provisions that allow both of a child’s parents some form of visitation — but what happens when your child doesn’t want to see or spend time with their other parent?
The reasons this can happen are complicated and varied. This is often an issue during a child’s teenage years, but it can happen earlier. Sometimes the child and the other parent simply cannot get along. Sometimes the child blames the other parent for past disruptions to the family. Whatever the cause, the situation can be painful for everyone involved, and it’s difficult to know how you should react. Here are some things to consider.
Custody orders are legal obligations
As long as the current custody and visitation order is in effect, you’re legally obligated to follow it. If you allow your child to skip out on visitation, the judge in your case can say that you are in violation of the order. Your noncompliance can also be seen as a signal that you’re unwilling to facilitate a healthy relationship between your child and their other parent.
Unless the situation is explosive and your child is in danger, you need to adhere to the schedule set by the court for the time being to protect your own interests.
Judges will sometimes consider a child’s wishes
In Michigan, one of the factors a judge can consider when determining custody is the reasonable preferences of the child involved. There’s no set age at which a child can express their preferences in court, so long as the court judges the child to be old enough and articulate enough to explain his or her feelings.
If your child is adamant about defying the visitation plan set by the court, it may be time to look into a modification to the custody order that will work better.