This is the next post in my series on whether or not an Arkansas child can refuse visitation with one of their parents. My last article discussed whether there is an age at which a child can refuse visitation. The fact of the matter is that until a child reaches the age of eighteen they may not make such a decision. Depending on the child’s age and maturity, however, the Court may be inclined to grant a child flexibility as to how they spend their time. Discussing your situation with an experienced family law attorney can help you to determine how the Court may rule in your particular situation. In this article I will discuss a topic which arises far too often – dealing with a parent who is coaching a child to refuse visitation. If you are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a Little Rock child custody lawyer.
Arkansas Family Courts may change custody if a child is being coached to refuse visitation
If an Arkansas parent is coaching a child to refuse visitation then the Court may be inclined to change custody in favor of the other parent. This is due to the fact the Court’s sole concern is for the best interest of the child. When determining what is in a child’s best interest, one of the factors the Court will consider is whether a parent is working to foster a relationship between their counterpart and the child. It almost goes without saying that actively coaching a child to refuse visitation is the opposite of working to foster a relationship. Whether a Court will actually change custody due to such conduct, or simply admonish the offending parent, will depend on the specifics of the situation.
The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose a mother and a father share equal custody of their teenage daughter. It is shown that the mother regularly encourages the child to refuse visitation and goes as far as to offer to purchase the child items if visitation is refused. If the situation has been going on long enough, then the Court may be likely to change custody in favor of the father with the mother receiving visitation. If, however, it is only shown that the mother has encouraged the child once or twice to refuse visitation, then the Court will likely admonish the mom and inform her that further infractions will likely result in a custody change, with the current order being left in place. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case.
Arkansas parents can file a Motion with the Court if the child is being coached to refuse visitation
If you believe that the other parent of your child is coaching them to refuse visitation then the matter can be brought to the attention of the Court. The process for doing so is to file a Motion for a Change of Custody. This is a formal document in which you will state the relief that you are asking for, your legal basis for seeking the relief, and you will attach evidence of the conduct. A hearing will be scheduled and, depending on the outcome of the hearing, the Court may make a temporary change in custody pending a trial. Requesting such a change can be a complicated legal process and it is important that you retain experienced counsel to assist you.
I am a Little Rock child custody lawyer who prides himself on providing a high level of service to each and every client our firm represents. I understand that this is an important time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with an attorney. I also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.