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What if My Child Refuses Parenting Time with My Ex-Spouse?

 Posted on April 10, 2020 in Visitation

Wheaton divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is divorced or legally separated, you are likely familiar with the court-approved parental responsibilities you and your ex may have spent hours trying to resolve. A parenting plan is a legal document that outlines child-related issues such as with whom your child will live, who has decision-making authority regarding issues such as children's education and medical care, and more. Unfortunately, your child may not be too happy about the decisions made during your divorce, and they may state that they do not wish to spend parenting time (visitation) with your ex-spouse. However, even if your child is reluctant to spend time with his or her other parent, you will be required to follow the parenting time schedule set down in the parenting plan, and you may face penalties for failing to fulfill the court's orders.

The Reasons Behind the Refusal

Understanding why your child does not want to visit the other parent is the first step in addressing the issue. During this time, it is important to keep these tips in mind:

  • Listen and respect your child’s thoughts and feelings.

  • Do not use their emotions against them.

  • Avoid making derogatory comments about your child’s other parent. 

After your child has expressed his or her feelings, you may want to look at your own behavior. Have you been bad-mouthing the other parent in front of your child? Do you get agitated prior to the other parent’s visitation time? It can be possible that your behavior has played a role in your child's attitudes toward spending time with the other parent. You will want to encourage your child to have a positive relationship with both parents, and you can help them understand that spending time with his or her other parent can be beneficial. Let your child know that you are supportive of him or her spending time with your ex-spouse.  

Your Legal Obligation

Under Illinois' divorce laws, each parent must follow the parenting time orders defined in their divorce decree. Whether your child’s resistance to visitation is brand-new or has been an ongoing issue for quite some time, it is important to keep your child’s other parent in the loop. In some cases, you may need to review and modify your current parenting plan. Allow your child to have a say as long as he or she is able to express himself or herself and mature enough to participate in making important decisions.

In addition, if there are any issues that affect your child's safety, these must be addressed. If the other parent is doing something that is truly harmful to your child, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, contact law enforcement immediately. You will not face penalties for disobeying your parenting time order if you have physical evidence to support the claim that your child may suffer harm during visitation with the other parent. You should be sure to work with an attorney to bring these matters before the court and ask for a modification of your parenting time agreement to protect your children's best interests.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney 

In Illinois divorce cases, one parent is typically awarded the majority of the parenting time. In certain scenarios, a child may refuse to spend time with his or her other parent for various reasons. If you are unsure how to proceed in this type of case, contact a knowledgeable DuPage County parenting time lawyer from A. Traub and Associates, and we will explain your rights and options and help you resolve any child custody disputes. Call us today at 630-426-0196 to schedule a private consultation.


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