Child custody and visitation schedules are ordered based on what is in the best interests of the child. But as time goes by, a son or daughter may start raising objections to making the required visits. If this occurs, the parent with primary custody could be considered in violation of the custody order, which can have serious consequences.
Children may try to avoid a parent for a variety of reasons; some may not like following the stricter parent’s rules and prefer to spend their time with the more lenient or fun parent. Other children may have conflicts with members of their blended family. Oftentimes a child does not get along with a step-parent, step-sibling or half sibling. In extreme cases the child may resist seeing one parent due to neglect or abuse.
If a child continually resists the regular visitation schedule, both parents should carefully assess the underlying reasons. Having a poor or strained relationship with a parent or other family member can greatly affect the child’s overall well-being. Unless one party is neglectful or abusive, the parents should work together to address the child’s concerns. Even if the parents have lingering animosity toward one another, they should encourage the child to have a good relationship with the other parent.
Any parent dealing with a visitation problem should carefully document all relevant events, as court orders regarding custody and visitation are not to be taken lightly. A parent who knowingly or wrongfully interferes with the other’s parental rights can face civil consequences or even criminal punishment. This does not mean that a child must be physically forced to make visits, but the law requires that parents make a good faith effort to carry out the visitation orders.
If the current arrangement is truly not working, the parents must get the courts involved. A judge may have to decide whether the current custody order should be modified. The judge will give older children more deference as to their preferred visitation arrangement. If the parents can come to an agreement on their own, the changes will still need to be reviewed and approved by the family court. Informal agreements not sanctioned by the court can be problematic. Having complete documentation and transparency protects both parents.
Lindsey Law Firm, P.C., serves clients throughout the Tulsa area who are grappling with child custody and visitation issues. If you need to consult with a family law attorney, feel free to contact us online or call 918-587-0097 for an initial consultation.