Judge with gavelThis is the next post in my series on the question on whether or not an Arkansas child can refuse visitation with a parent. My last article discussed how to respond when a parent coaches a child to refuse visitation. When a parent engages in such coaching then the Court may be inclined to change custody in favor of the non-offending parent. This is due to the fact that attempting to frustrate the relationship between the child and one’s co-parent is seen as being against the child’s best interests. If you find yourself in such a situation then it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. In this article I will discuss how courts may respond when a child is blatantly refusing to follow visitation orders. If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock child custody lawyer.

When children become older and more mature then Courts may grant them discretion as to when they will visit with a non-custodial parent. These types of arrangements can result in situations where a youth refuses to go through with the visitation. How the Court will respond in such situations will depend on the nature of the “refusal.” If the evidence shows that a child is, in fact, willing to go through with the visitation but the parent simply cannot make a time work with the youth’s schedule, then the Court may see the matter as more of a “private issue” between a parent and child. If, however, the evidence shows that the youth is simply refusing any visitation time proposed by a parent, without justifiable reasons, then the Court is likely to remove any discretion or decision-making authority to the child.

The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose a sixteen-year-old has been ordered to spend eight days a month with her father. The child is given flexibility by the Court, however, due to her extensive school and extracurricular schedule. The father says that he is only available for overnight visits on days where the child has school and activities the next morning and dad lives far away from the school. The daughter is willing to visit with dad on non-school nights. Under situations such as this, the Court would likely view the child’s behavior as reasonable and would order the dad to find a way to make the schedule work. If, however, the daughter simply refuses all visits, including those on non-school nights, then the Court may remove the child’s decision-making ability and put a more strict schedule in place. It is important to remember that these are just examples and how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case.

If you are a parent dealing with a child who is refusing visitation then it is important that you contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. How the Judge will view the case will be highly dependent on the facts and counsel can assist you in properly presenting your case to the Court. I am a Little Rock child custody lawyer who understands that this is a serious time in your life. My office prides itself on providing the highest level of service and we look forward to being of assistance. Contact us online or by telephone today. I also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.