Do I Have to Force My Child to Go to Schedule Visitations If They Refuse?

Angela Princewill

December 27, 2019
Child Visitations

Divorce with minor children can be very stressful and full of new challenges once the divorce has been finalized. Even though you are no longer married, you will continue to have a relationship with your ex-spouse because you have children.

One of the challenges parents face is having to deal with a child who is refusing to go on scheduled visitations. As parents, it can be difficult to force your child to do something they do not want to.

Furthermore, the child’s refusal can place additional stress and strain on the relationship between the parents. The custodial parent may be led to believe the non-custodial parent is mistreating their child in some manner during scheduled visitations. Conversely, the non-custodial parent can think the custodial parent is talking negatively about them to their child.

Additionally, the relationship between the parents and child can become awkward. The parents can feel bad for forcing their child to go to the scheduled visitation. Both parents can equally feel distressed because they feel that by forcing the child to go, it will hurt their relationship with their child.

Yet, it is important to remember minor children do not have any say about visitation schedules. If the custodial parent prevents the noncustodial parent from seeing their children, the custodial parent could face serious consequences in family court.

What Can Parents Do to Address This Problem?

Parents will need to make an effort to find out what is wrong. Sometimes seeking help from a qualified family counselor in Toronto is beneficial to get to the heart of the matter. In general, however, there are three primary causes for the refusal most of the time.

  1. The child is attempting to create tension between their parents to get their way. As children get older, they often have social activities with their friends they would rather do than spend time with their parents. They figure if they can create tension between their parents, their parents will decide not to force the issue and give into the child’s demands.
  2. The child is anxious and uncomfortable leaving the security of their home. When mom and dad no longer live together, the child can feel insecure going to the noncustodial parent’s home as everything is new and not familiar.
  3. The child believes if they refuse that their parents will reconcile. If the parents are amicable towards each other, the child can believe if they refuse, then the custodial parent may invite the noncustodial parent to stay so they can spend time with their child which could lead to their parents getting back together.

This is not to say that the child could have an actual fear of the noncustodial parent or that the custodial parent could be manipulating the child.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Firm in Toronto, Pickering, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.