Dealing with Resistance: Children and Visitation

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Dealing with Resistance: Children and Visitation

Getting used to a visitation schedule is difficult for everyone. Disagreement among parents is one thing, but when a child becomes resistant to visitation, the situation is even more complicated.

For Custodial Parents

If your child is resistant to going on visitation, try to gently explore why. You need to rule out any issues of safety or parental failures first. If your child is not in danger, find out why he or she is unhappy about visitation. There may be a solvable problem – unhappiness with the sleeping arrangements, inability to get homework done, no food he/she likes, etc. A problem like this can be discussed with your ex. If your child has no real reason yet continues to cry, whine, complain or refuse to go, it is your job as a parent to stay strong. You can tell your child that this plan was created by the judge and it is not up to you to change it. We all have schedules we have to follow and your child is no different. Make sure you let the other parent know about the resistance and make it clear you are supporting visitation and encouraging your child to go.

For Non-Custodial Parents

If your child does not want to spend time with you, it can be hurtful and bewildering. The first order of business is to try to find out why. Is the other parent discouraging your child from going? Is the other parent speaking negatively about you? Is it actually your child who doesn’t want to go or is your ex manipulating the situation? If the problem is your ex, you need to talk to your lawyer and make sure that your order is followed. If the problem is not your ex, talk to your child in a careful way and try to explore what is making him or her unhappy. Are there changes that can be made to make the visitation plan more palatable? Be flexible, but remember you are the parent and children are not in charge. If there is no explanation, you can try taking a break, but making sure to stay in constant contact so your child knows you care and want to see him or her. Do not give up your rights however, and try to resume visiting shortly. If your child continues to refuse, it is wise to seek help from a family therapist who can help you get back on track.

For help with custody and visitation issues, contact DeTorres & DeGeorge.

Children & Divorce Guide
About DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law

DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law is a New Jersey based family law firm that has been helping New Jersey residents achieve the best possible results in their divorce for nearly 30 years. The DeTorres and DeGeorge Family Law team is always ready to fight for their clients’ rights – determined to help New Jersey families overcome legal challenges from start to finish. Our legal team, with over 65 years of combined experience, provides expert guidance on all family law and divorce-related matters, including custody and parenting time, alimony and child support, equitable distribution of assets, premarital agreements, post-divorce issues, executive compensation distribution, divorces for business owners, and divorce mediation. The firm has been recognized for its dedication and expertise in the industry by multiple local and national organizations, including Super Lawyers, Law Firm 500, and the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Rosanne DeTorres, Managing Partner, is one of 150 lawyers certified as a matrimonial law attorney.

Erin D. DeGeorge
Erin D. DeGeorge joined DeTorres & DeGeorge, LLC as partner to the firm in June of 2010. Prior to joining DeTorres & DeGeorge, Erin was associated with the national firm of Fox Rothschild LLP and Cutler, Simeone, Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC...
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