How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Refuse Visitation in FL
There’s no lawfully defined age at which the wishes or preferences of a child regarding visitation would be honored. This sticky situation is very common and places the parent in an ethical and legal predicament. Under the law, it is the state’s public policy that all minor children have continuing and regular contact with both their parents, even after the parents have divorced or separated.
This helps encourage parents to share the responsibilities, rights, and joys of caring for their children. The law also requires that parents create a time-sharing or visitation arrangement that specifies how much time each of them would spend with their child. If the child refuses visitation with the other parent and the favored parent cannot persuade them to follow the time-sharing schedule, the court may consider the parent in violation of the time-sharing order.
What Happens If You Fail to Comply With The Visitation Order?
The court may impose various penalties on the noncompliant parent if it finds that they are not following the visitation order. These penalties may include the following:
- Attending a parenting class
- Paying for the other parent’s court and attorney costs
- Doing community service
- Being held in contempt of court
In some cases, the court may strip some of the non-compliant parent’s visitation time and reallocate it to the other parent.
Why a Child May Be Refusing Visitation With The Other Parent
You must first find out why your child is refusing to visit with your co-parent. In most cases, the reasons may include the following:
- Stricter house rules at your co-parent’s household
- Not feeling welcome or feeling uncomfortable if your co-parent has a new partner or children living with them
- Preferring to stay at home to be closer to friends, which is common among teenagers
Depending on your child’s age, maturity level, and the reason behind their refusal, the court may consider their preferences. For instance, if your child, a high school senior, wants to stay at home during the weekdays because his work is near and then visit with the other parent only on weekends, the court is likely to honor your child’s wishes because it’s in his best interest.
But if the court determines that he just wants to stay at home because the house rules are more relaxed or his reason is otherwise not in his best interest, the court will likely not honor his wishes. But if your child expresses that they don’t want to visit with their other parent because of neglect or abuse, call your Port St. Lucie family law attorney and the police for your options.
Reach Out to a Top Port St. Lucie Family Law Attorney Now
If you’re having a difficult time following the visitation order because your child is refusing to visit with your co-parent, contact Brian McMahon, our Port St. Lucie family law attorney, so we can learn more about your situation and help you understand your rights and legal options moving forward. Call our office at 772-228-6701 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case evaluation with our Port St. Lucie family law attorney.