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What if Your Kids Don’t Want to Visit Your Ex?

When you are having an issue with child custody, Irvine family law attorneys can help you to understand how to address the issue within the legal system. One of the most common problems that arises for parents is when children are not happy with the visitation schedule.  There may be some situations when a child does not want to spend time with or visit one parent, and this can be a very difficult situation for families. family law

If your kids do not want to visit your ex, your options will depend upon many factors including whether there is an existing custody agreement in place as well as the reasons your children have for not wanting to continue to visit their other parent. Irvine family law attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide guidance in situations where a child has made it clear that visits are not desirable.

What To Do When Your Kids Don’t Want to Visit their Ex?

If your children do not want to visit the other parent, you need to understand what obligations you have under the law and what rights the other parent has.

If there is an existing custody arrangement in place which gives the other parent visitation rights, you will need to follow the custody agreement. You cannot simply withhold your kids and prevent visits, even if the kids don’t want to go. If you fail to comply with a custody order, you could end up in contempt of court and facing serious legal consequences. Repeatedly withholding visitation could even affect your own custody rights.

If the custody agreement gives the other parent visitation rights and the kids do not want to visit, you’ll need to find out why the children do not want to go to your ex.  If there is some problem at your ex’s home or some legitimate reason for your children not wanting to visit, you can go to court and petition for a modification of the custody order. You will need to show a material change in circumstances since the time the original custody agreement was put in place and/or you will need to demonstrate a compelling reason why the kids should not have to visit your ex any more.

In cases where children are being abused or neglected, the court should modify the custody order and should ensure your children either do not have any visitation with an abusive parent or have limited supervised contact. It will be up to you to show there are problems in your ex’s household that make it an unsafe place for children.

If kids simply don’t want to go and visit your ex, the court may take their opinion into account when you seek to modify custody- especially if they are older. However, it is typically considered to be in a child’s best interests to see both parents.

If there is no existing custody agreement in place and your kids don’t want to see your ex, you may not necessarily have to allow them to go and visit. If your ex wants to force visitation rights, he or she would need to petition for custody.  At this point, you and your ex would try to create a parenting plan that works for your family. Your ex may be willing to allow the kids time without visiting, especially if there is a justifiable reason the kids don’t want to see him or her.

If you cannot come to an agreement and your ex wants custody but your kids don’t want to see him or her, the custody dispute may go before a family court judge. California Family Code Sections 3040 through 3049 establish many factors for judges to consider in deciding how to divide custody.

The best interests of the child standard is used and it is generally considered better for kids to have at least some visitation. However, the court will look at the stability of the home life of the children, among other factors, and may consider the opinions of older kids in deciding how parenting time should be divided. If the kids make clear they don’t want to visit the other parent, the court may order no visitation or limited visits.

If your custody agreement does not require the kids to visit the other parent and they do not wish to do so, you will be under no obligation to allow visits.

How Irvine Family Law Attorneys Can Help

The Irvine family law attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you petition for custody modifications or argue for a custody order that makes your kids happy. Give us a call at  (866)237-8129 or contact us online to learn more about how we can assist you.