Some children refuse to follow custody orders and spend time with the other parent. This puts the favored parent in a bind: do you let the child stay with the parent as he or she wishes or do you force the child to go?
Not an Excuse for Failing to Follow the Custody Order
Courts expect that a parent will do everything in the parent’s power to follow the court order. If your ex-spouse files a contempt action because the custody plan is not being followed, you cannot claim as a defense that you could not follow the custody order because your child does not want to visit with the other parent. This is especially true if the child is young.
If you suspect your spouse is enabling your child to not follow the custody order, you should bring this issue up with the court. A qualified family law attorney can advise you how best to do that, but typically you must file some sort of pleading with the court.
If a child has strong and unfounded objections to being with the other parent, parental alienation may be occurring. Parental alienation occurs when a parent (or another relative) disparages the other parent in such a way that the child is afraid to be with the parent.
Ways to Encourage Children to Visit the Other Parent
If you find yourself to be the favored parent, there are ways you can encourage your child to spend time with the other parent, including:
- Going to the visitation with the child or having the visitation occur at your house with or without you there. This solution will not work in every case, but it can be a good way to transition a child to alone time with the other parent;
- Try for shorter, more frequent visits; and
- Remind the child that the other parent loves him or her and that it is important to maintain a relationship with both parents.
If the child still protests when it is time for a visit, it may be time to change the custody plan.
Contact a Glen Ellyn, IL Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody issues can come up at any point after the initial order is set. You do not have to live with an order that does not meet the needs of your family. A knowledgeable family law lawyer can make your best case to the judge. If you have questions about your custody order, contact the skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC for a free consultation.