In Jefferson County, a parenting plan or child custody agreement will specifically outline how often the children are to see each parent. This is determined by the two parents and the court. But, what happens if one of the children no longer want visitation time with one parent? It can put a parent in a very tricky situation, as they don’t want to defy a court order, but also don’t want to force their child to do something they don’t want to do. So, what can be done?
Can My Child Refuse Visitation in Wheat Ridge or Arvada, Colorado?
There is no specific age where the court deems a child to be able to make the decision to refuse visitation with a parent. Obviously, the older the child is, the more the court feels they have some autonomy over their lives. For the Colorado court, this usually begins around 14 years or older. However, the court also recognizes that a child should have a relationship with both parents. You cannot just stop bringing the child to their other parent. If it has gotten to the point where the child is refusing to go, you may need to reevaluate the parenting agreement and file for a modification with the court. Sometimes, unless there is proof of abuse, the court will not modify a child custody agreement to allow the child to stay with just one parent.
Modification of Child Custody Agreement: Getting the Best Outcome for Your Child
There are some things that can be done with the parents in order to get the best odds of getting a modification.
- Both parents agree to a new parenting agreement, addressing the visitation (or lack of visitation) concerning the refusing child. The child can make their wishes known in this agreement. However, the court will still review the agreement and determine if it is in the best interest of the child.
- The parent with primary custody gives up their custody or it can be proven that the parent can no longer care for the child.
- There is evidence provided to the court that the child’s refusal is supported by valid reasoning. (i.e. abuse, neglect, etc.)
What if My Child Doesn’t Want to See Me Anymore?
While it may be very disheartening, sometimes it’s best to respect your child’s wishes. It can cause more issues if you fight it. Maybe try working it out where the child still spends time with you, but doesn’t stay overnight. Or you work to spend time with them on their terms. Keeping the connection with your child is the most important thing. Do whatever you can to acknowledge their feelings, and still be there for them. Divorce can be terribly difficult for children, especially if it was not an amicable one. If you think there is more going on with the refusal, then you may need to have some interventions to get to the bottom of the issue and protect your child.