With offices in Alpharetta, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Marietta, the family lawyers at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor provide experienced divorce representation throughout the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Many custodial parents are hesitant to force their child into visitation if it makes the child unhappy. This leaves them wondering about the reasons for their resistance and what they can do about it. It is important to not disparage the other parent in front of the child, but encourage the child to visit with the other parent, and help the child sort through their feelings as to why they do not want to visit with the other parent. What legal applies, then, if a/the 14-year-old who chooses to live with one parent doesn’t want to visit with the other parent? Michael and Jennifer have been amicably divorced for six years. If a child is too ill or sick to visit, or a teenager is refusing to visit the other parent, it is important that you communicate the situation in a timely matter with the other parent. The non-custodial parent may feel betrayed and hurt. As kids get older, they sometimes resent how visitation seems to interrupt their plans. I am however, a divorced mom, a high school teacher of at risk youth, and a family mediator. Call us at 631-239-1702 or email David Badanes, Esq. On one hand, the custodial parent doesn’t want to face penalties or possible jail-time for violating a court-imposed custody schedule. 842 Route 25A, Northport, NY 11768 When a child refuses to visit a parent, the custodial parent and the attorney are put in a tenuous position. David P. Badanes, Esq. 2020 © Stearns‑Montgomery & Proctor. Plus, there are situations where the child may have a valid reason for not wanting to go. Divorce occurred in Texas when child was under 2 years old. Whatever the reason, it can put you in a bad position. Custodial parent lives in Texas. Do I Need to File for a Legal Separation Before Filing for a Divorce? While their desire not to see the other parent may be totally out of your control, the consequences of your child refusing to attend visitations could impact your whole family. In other words, there could be an overriding situation, where you do not need to physically deliver the child to the other parent. Here are credible Georgia cases supporting similar, and unique, scenarios: The Georgia Supreme Court in Prater v. Wheeler, 253 GA 649 (1984) found that a child aged 14 and older has the right to choose not to visit the non-custodial parent. At other times, a child may feel bitter about the non-custodial parent's significant other. by David Badanes | January 28, 2019. The children are with Jennifer 60% of the time, with Michael, 40% of the time. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale. As outlined in their final decree of divorce they split custody of the children on a 60/40 basis. The Georgia Supreme Court in Prater v. Wheeler, 253 GA 649 (1984) found that a child aged 14 and older has the right to choose not to visit the non-custodial parent. One particular instance in which this can become challenging is if your child doesn't want to comply with your visitation schedule and begins refusing to see their other parent. However, if there is a seriously negative situation at the other parent’s home – i.e. Legally, the answer may be “yes”. The custodial parent’s attorney has a duty to help the client avoid these situations. The trial court, however, is not precluded from considering the wishes of the child. After the Prater decision, the legislature added to the statute “nothing in code section shall be interpreted to deny the noncustodial parent the right to reasonable visitation determined by the court”. Threatening your teen with punishment or restricting his freedom will likely hurt more than it will help. At other times, a child may feel bitter about the non-custodial parent's significant other. Proving to the court you are not, in fact, withholding visitation and are not therefore in willful contempt is a technical and difficult process, that requires experience in custodial rights. If there is a Court Order requiring “visitation” or “parenting time”, then, you are required to follow the Court’s Order. However, the child better be “truly sick”, as the other parent could order a “well check”, by calling the police to see if the child is ill or too sick to visit. The situation is increasingly problematic as the child approaches the age of majority (18 years old). The short answer is yes, but with caveats. When your child does not want to visit with the other parent, you need to ensure that you are not directly violating the Court order, granting custody to the other parent by withholding visitation. Wheeler, 253 GA 649 (1984) found that a child aged 14 and older has the right to choose not to visit the non-custodial parent. A mother was not held in contempt in Doritis v. Doritis, 294 Ga 421 (2014), because the settlement agreement between the parties, which had become the Order of the Court, allowed visitation as the father and child agreed. In virtually all situations, a young child will be required to have parenting time with the non-custodial parent. It may also help to document each instance of your child’s refusal, and the circumstances surrounding the event. If there is a Court Order requiring “visitation” or “parenting time”, then, you are required to follow the Court’s Order. Child is now almost 16. If you cut-off all visitation with the other parent, there could be serious negative consequences to you. However, the Court found that the desire of the child not to visit with the other parent remains subject to review by the Court and determination of what is in the child’s best interest must be made in any other modification or alteration of visitation rights. If you have questions regarding custody and are thinking of seeking legal action, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.