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What to Do if a Child Does Not Cooperate with Visitation

Divorce can be hard on children and parents alike. Your divorce decree will contain a custody plan and visitation schedule. Depending on the processes you used in your divorce, you and your ex may have agreed on these terms yourselves, or had them laid out by the court.

If a child refuses to comply with the custody or visitation schedule, it can be difficult for you as a parent to force them to do so, but legally they do not have any choice; courts determine it to be in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents.

There are a variety of reason why children might not wish to visit another parent. Perhaps they live far away from their friends and school. It could be that the other parent enforces different rules, or that they have frequent disagreements and arguments. In some cases, children will refuse to see the other parent if they have a new partner. If the reason your child does not wish to visit is not related to their own safety or wellbeing, the child still must attend visitations.

How to handle the situation

Here are some tips to help you handle the situation if you have an uncooperative child:

  • Alert the other parent: Let the other parent know about the situation so they’re not blindsided by the child’s refusal and attitude. Make sure you notify them in writing so you have documentation of this.
  • Encourage the child to visit: Remember that you are the one in charge, not your child. Be understanding of their emotions, but make sure they know they don’t have a choice, and encourage them to consider their attitude and visit the other parent.
  • Talk about reasons: If you can find out why exactly your child does not wish to attend the visitation, this will help you better address their concerns and empathize with them.
  • Get the other parent involved: If your child sees the two of you working together and communicating, this could help them feel better about participating.
  • Make smooth transitions: Try to keep transitions in parenting time as smooth as possible. Have everything packed and ready to go before they leave, and stay as calm as possible.

For more tips about how to handle visitation disputes, contact an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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