There are a number of things that parents must adapt to after a divorce. One challenge is growing accustomed to a custody or visitation schedule. This is true no matter if one parent holds sole custody and the child visits with the other parent or if both parents share joint custody.
After a court grants a visitation schedule, it is imperative that parents make sure to follow this order. If modification of the order is required, the parents must obtain approval from the court. These arrangements can be made even more challenging if the couple’s child refuses to visit the other parent.
Parents Have a Duty to Facilitate Visitation
After a court approves a visitation schedule, both parents must make sure that a child is available on the specific dates and times that are listed. Courts understand that emergencies like a child becoming sick can occur, in which case the custodial parent must notify the other parent and arrange another time for the visitation to occur.
Many Georgia visitation orders do not outline the additional steps that custodial parents must take in facilitating a visitation between a child and non-custodial parent. One of the reasons why orders are silent on this matter is that courts expect custodial parents to act in a reasonable manner.
When custodial parents fail to adhere to the terms of an order or do not act in a reasonable manner, courts will take the child’s age into consideration when deciding how to respond. For example, this means that if a 17-year-old child refuses visitation, courts will be more understanding of a custodial parent’s situation than if the child is 3.
How Custodial Parents Should Respond if a Child Refuses Visitation
If a child refuses visitation, there are some helpful steps that custodial parents should remember to follow, which include:
- Promptly contact the other parent about the child’s refusal to visit. Make a note of the time and date on which this occurred. This is because, short of abuse, a custodial parent will be required to prove to the court that all possible steps are being taken to facilitate visitation.
- If it is at all possible to do so, arrange for the other parent to speak to or communicate with the child. This way the other parent can see that it is not the custodial parent’s fault the child refuses the visit. The custodial parent should never be required to force a child to visit.
- Immediately contact your lawyer if you believe that abuse or poor treatment by the non-custodial parent led to the child refuse visitation.
Speak with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer
The child custody process is unfortunately often complex. To navigate these matters, one of the best steps that you can take is to retain the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.
Do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today.