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Why Children Resist Visitation

For children, one of the hardest parts of a divorce is experiencing the upending of established routines and needing to adapt to new realities. Although children can be very adaptable, it’s also understandable that there may be a significant and possibly difficult adjustment period. One of the biggest adaptations a child might need to make after a divorce is the adjustment to spending time with their parents in separate locations, at least one of which will likely be unfamiliar. 

Some children will make this adjustment fairly smoothly, but others will react differently. In some situations, a child might prefer to spend time with one parent rather than the other, and this may be based on a number of factors. In other cases, a child might be completely alienated from the non-custodial parent. In these less-than-ideal scenarios, children might resist visitation with their other parent. 

The factors at play in cases in which children resist or refuse visitation can be very serious. Exposure to domestic violence or to sexual, physical or emotional abuse can all make a child resistant to spending time with the non-custodial parent. There may be other, more benign factors as well — sometimes parents’ styles are very different from each other, and an overly harsh or overly permissive parenting style can influence which parent a child prefers to spend time with. 

It’s also important to consider the role of the child and both parents more broadly in evaluating a child’s resistance to visitation. Is there something in particular about the child that leads them to prefer one parent over the other? Does the non-custodial parent just not connect well with the child? Even the custodial parent’s behavior cannot be neglected, particularly if there’s a chance that their opinion of the other parent is influencing the child. 

If you have questions about custody and visitation or the divorce process in general, contact a knowledgeable Twin Cities divorce and family law attorney with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart right away.

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  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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