Some couples decide to pursue a divorce when their children are quite young. Under these circumstances, divorced parents ask about what to do if the other parent doesn’t comply with the agreement. While the parenting plan is the court order that lays the foundation, but both parents must follow it for it to be truly effective. That means making the pickup and dropoff times, meeting at the right locations, and making the required child support payments.
Those are some examples of things that are outlined in a parenting plan, though they are more extensive than that. You may face challenges even after your divorce is finalized—some that you may not have anticipated. We wanted to address one that is difficult from both a parent’s perspective and a lawyer’s. What happens if your child doesn’t want to comply with visitation? If you got divorced when your child was young, you might not have thought of this. Your child may also grow older and begin to refuse.
Document & Work Towards a Solution
Although this is a complex situation, one of the things you should not do is approach it passively. Imagine that your former spouse lives an hour away. Both of you meet halfway every other week to pick up and drop off your teenage child. Before leaving your house, your child refuses to get in the car. Take the time to contact your former spouse in writing. Explain the situation, what you are doing (or did), and that you want to work towards a solution. Doing so may avoid threats by the other parent to hold you in contempt.
This is necessary because you don’t want anyone claiming that you are not complying with the visitation order.
Co-Parenting Wins Out
Co-parenting is challenging, but there are countless examples of how former spouses make it work for the benefit of their children. After a divorce, you and your former spouse are simply a new kind of team. That means both of you begin with ways to resolve the issue rather than immediately threatening legal action. Though it may escalate to that point, it shouldn’t be the first solution.
Both parents should be able to sit down and talk with the children to express why they are refusing to go. Most people simply want to be heard, and children are no different. Their answer could be anything from that they want to stay because they have something they want to attend with their friends or because they don’t want to. For the former, strong co-parents may quickly decide to accommodate the child’s wishes—if there is a way to have the visitation while still allowing the child to go to the event. Should there be deeper issues, everyone may benefit from talking to and through a mental health professional that works closely with families.
As a parent, you don’t have all the answers because no one does. However, you and your former spouse can mutually commit to working together to find them.
Co-parenting can only be successful if both parents commit to it. If your child is refusing visitations and your former spouse is accusing you of not following through with the agreement, you should contact an attorney. Contact ZafiroLaw to schedule a consultation if you want to talk further about your family law matter.