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When Your Child Refuses to Visit the Other Parent

When you are divorced, one of the most difficult adjustments to have is the custody of your children. Custody is always up to the family court.

As long as there is no violence, abuse, or any form of negligence was brought to the child, visitation rights will be awarded to the other parent who does not have the primary custody of the child.

It is also beneficial to both of the parents if they share child support, not just financially but also emotionally. But, what if your child, who is under your primary custody, refuses to visit the other parent?

Understanding What is the Problem

There are a number of factors affecting the sentiments of the child towards the other parent.

One thing to be considered is age.

Most of the time, 4-year old kids can be dealt with easily compared to your 16-year old child. Teenagers have a different way of thinking. Sometimes, they just prefer hanging around with friends than with their parents. This age bracket is also prone to anger and more likely to become rebellious especially during divorce.

Another factor to consider is the child’s environment.

Are they with the right peers? If they are still between ages 4-9, for instance, are they properly mentored by the people around them? Are they saying bad things about your ex-spouse?

As how all problems should be approached, talk about it with your child. Know the reasons of the child on why he or she doesn’t want to see the other parent. Is it because of fear or anger to the other parent? Is he or she influenced by the people around them?

Communicate with your Ex-spouse

Some things might be not doing well between the both of you, but for the sake of the child, it is best to have communication with your ex.

Having both parents, even if the child doesn’t say it, will be comforting for him or her.

Unless there are some form of abuse or negligence that is involved, it would be much better if the child has a good relationship with both his or her parents. Two heads are better than one. Having two parents to lean on will make things easy for the child when he or she is facing problems.

Just make sure that you and your ex are on the same pace. Talk to him or her about things that you suspect could be the cause of the sentiments of your child. Don’t hesitate to help your ex-spouse in dealing with your child. After all, it is their betterment that you need to think about.

Assessing the Situation

Knowing the exact cause of the problem will help you assess the situation.

If you think that there has been no harm done, communication and reaching out is the key to gain the trust of the child.

He or she might have been hurt by the other parent before, but, apologizing and being sincere will lighten things up. If there are cases of violence and abuse, consulting a legal and psychological expert will be necessary.

Although building a foundation between the child and your former spouse is what you’re after, keep in mind that you must also be vigilant.

Best of luck!

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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