What Happens When a Child Does Not Want to Visit?
15 June 2023IN: Child Custody
Dealing with the Complexities of Child Custody and Parental Rights Can Be Difficult
When it comes to child custody and visitation, everyone involved - including the courts - is most concerned with what is in the best interests of the child. Given the incredible importance of this, it is absolutely vital that parents work with qualified child custody and visitation attorneys in advocating for their parental rights and ensuring the best possible custody and visitation schedule is both created and adhered to.
How a family handles a child refusing to follow the visitation schedule entirely depends upon that family and their needs and dynamics. For some, depending upon the age of the child, two parents may feel that they need to give the child some time and space to work on whatever issues are related to this decision. However, in some circumstances, a parent might seek to change the child custody order if this child’s decision violates the court order, and the court may modify that order to try and repair the breakdown while still allowing for some reasonable visitation.
The Law in Tennessee
The law in Tennessee dictates that the court will consider the custody and visitation preferences of a child who is over the age of 12. However, this does not mean that the court does not also have the discretion to take into account the preferences of a child under the age of 12. Yet these preferences are simply one of the various factors that the court can and will rely on in determining what arrangement is in the best interests of the child and is not a sole determining factor in determining or modifying a custody and visitation arrangement.
It is also important to note that courts can opt to punish the parent with whom the child decides to stay, dictating that they are denying visitation rights to the other parent. Still, it is equally important to note that courts do recognize that it can be difficult to force a child to visit with another parent, especially a teenager/older child, and will take this into account in deciding whether the parent actually had the ability to comply with the visitation order in place.
This is why it is so critical to work with an attorney to make adjustments to the court order if the parent supports the child in their wish not to visit the other parent. The court will look at a variety of factors in deciding whether to modify the custody and visitation order, such as what is best for the child’s health, safety, and well-being. Ultimately, the court must determine what is in the best interests of the child.
Murfreesboro & Rutherford County Tennessee Child Custody and Parental Rights Attorney
At the Law Office of David L. Scott, we have been helping families since 1996 to find the best custody arrangements to fit their particular needs. Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation today to learn more about your rights and how the law applies in your case.