Do I have to force my 16 year old child to visit her father? She doesn’t want to go!

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This is a difficult position for both parties involved. As the custodial parent, it’s your responsibility to foster a relationship between your child and their father, even if your relationship with their father is strained. But as you surely know, it can be difficult to convince a teenager to do anything they do not want to do. But it will be you, the parent, who faces repercussions for your child’s refusal to visit with their father.

As the custodial parent, you can be found in contempt for failure to comply with the court’s visitation order. Contempt entails being forced to pay fines, attorney’s fees and face up to six months in jail per violation. Family law judges do not take kindly to parents being unable to visit with their children and a finding of contempt reflects very badly on you as a parent in any future litigation involving the child.

You can’t physically get a teenager into a vehicle and you probably don’t want visitation to be a point of contention in your relationship with your child, but you need to remember that you are the adult and visitation is not up to the child. The judge won’t punish the child for their refusal to visit with their parent, those repercussions will come down on you.

So what can you do? If you have a decent relationship with your ex, it can be helpful to present a united front to your child. If you do not have a relationship with your ex, it’s important to stress to your child that both parents are a part of their life and that their refusal to visit with the other parent opens you up to liability for their actions.

If you are having issues with your current custody arrangement or have further questions, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC.

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