This is the fourth post in my series on summertime issues that Las Vegas fathers frequently encounter. My last post discussed how to stay in contact with your child if they will be spending the summer with their mother. In today’s post I will be discussing how to deal with one of the most frustrating issues that occurs with shared custody- a child who is refusing to abide by their summertime visitation schedule. This issue is dealt with differently depending on the child’s age and their reason behind their refusal. Understanding all of the criteria the court will consider will help you understand how your case will proceed.
Prior to involving the court system, parents should attempt to address the child’s issues and concerns if appropriate
If a child is refusing to come visit you for the summer, it can be devastating. Likewise, if your child is refusing to go visit their mother, it can put you in an awkward position. Prior to calling in your attorney, it is important for both parents to attempt and understand why their child is refusing to proceed with visitation. If a child does not have a legitimate reason for their complaints, beyond trivial issues such as wishing to spend the summer with their friends, then it is important for both parents to present a united front. Particularly with younger children, it is important for parents to remember that your child does not get to call the shots. Younger children may not appreciate the importance of quality time with both parents, and it is up to the parents to stress that summertime visitation is not optional. When a court order is in place, the custodial parent is required to ensure the child follows through with their visitation.
A child’s age and relationship with the noncustodial parent will have a significant impact on how the Clark County Court will deal with visitation problems
As children age, the court begins to weigh the child’s wishes more heavily. A teenager who refuses to engage in a visitation schedule becomes more problematic than a small child. If your teenager refuses to take part in summer visitation, first attempt to understand the problem. If your teenager is upset over missing a specific event, such as camp, or is worried about taking time off of a summer job, then the parents may be able to reach a compromise. However, if the teenager does not want to spend time with their noncustodial parent, then the court may question whether or not visitation is in the child’s best interests. The court gives great consideration to the child/parent relationship quality, and if something has damaged that relationship, the court may consider reducing visitation.
If your child is refusing to partake in their summer visitation schedule, it is important to contact your family attorney immediately. The custodial parent may be held in contempt of court if the child does not show up for their scheduled visitation. If you know visitation will be a problem, plan in advance, and go to court for a possible custody change. If you are the noncustodial parent and your ex-spouse is not encouraging your child to come for the summer, talk to your child first before taking legal action. If you believe your ex-spouse is attempting to block your child from visiting you for any reason, contact our office immediately.