If you are a divorced parent who shares custody or visitation with your ex, you may encounter situations in which your child refuses to spend time with you or your spouse. For young children, they really have no choice—the court implements custody and timesharing agreements because it is in the child’s best interest. But is there an age at which the court sees them as being mature enough to refuse a visitation session?
Here’s what you should know.
Can children refuse visitation?
The court will take a child’s preferences into consideration with regard to custody matters if he or she reaches a certain age. However, the child’s preferences are only one factor the court must consider.
Ultimately, a child does not have the right to decide to refuse visitation, or to cut off visitations with the noncustodial parent. It is the custodial parent’s responsibility to ensure the child sees the noncustodial parent in accordance with the custody schedule.
Obviously, this can be difficult when a child grows older and becomes a teenager. It can be difficult to make the child cooperate, but they legally do not have any choice in the matter.
So the answer to the question is no—there is no age at which a child can refuse visitation. Only when they turn 18 and reach legal adulthood do they have the power and authority to decide not to see one of their parents.
For more information about handling child custody and visitation disputes, contact an experienced Minneapolis custody attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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