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My Child Does Not Want to Visit, What Now?

It is common for a child to voice their displeasure and refusal to want to attend visits with a parent, especially as they get older and rather spend time with their peer group.  Unfortunately, there is no universal solution to this problem.  The reluctance may be a natural process of a child spreading their wings; however, at the other extreme, a child may not want to attend visits because they are subject to abuse from the other parent.  I do not want to sound like an alarmist, but unfortunately, I have been involved in cases where years of children not wanting to spend time with a parent was due to horrific abuse occurring during the visits.  Thus, if a child is expressing a strong desire to not wanting to spend time with a parent, it may be appropriate to seek the assistance of a child therapist to attempt to get to the heart of the issue.

In general, the custodial parent should encourage the child to visit the other parent, especially an older child and should make a younger child available.  If problems persist, the custodial parent should in writing request that counseling services be explored. Please note that refusal to allow a child to see the other parent is grounds for contempt that can result in a fine and/or incarceration; thus, ultimately leading to a change of conservatorship.  If you believe that your child's reluctance is rooted in something more sinister than not wanting their routine or plans interrupted, then consider taking the initiative and seeking court intervention.  Simply put, there is no panacea when it comes to this issue, each case must be evaluated on its own.