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How Old Can a Child be to Refuse Visitation?


In Texas, children, or those under 18, cannot refuse visitation. The reason for this is that visitation is an essential right of all parents that simply can’t be taken away. Even if a parent requests a modification of the visitation order, they must convince the court that doing so would be in the child’s best interests. If a custodial parent intentionally violates a visitation order or influences the child to refuse visitation, they will face serious penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.

Visitation Orders and Parent Responsibilities

Child custody orders require parents to make their children reasonably available for parenting time with their other parent. This does not necessarily mean that a parent must force or physically drag a kicking and screaming child from one place to another.

For instance, an order may state that the father spends time with the child every Sunday morning. This does not mean that the mother must deliver the child physically to the father. While all parties must comply with the visitation schedule, there are times when visitation may simply be impossible.

So, if a teenager refuses to leave their room and spend time with the father, it’s not necessarily the mother’s fault the visit was canceled. Parents of younger kids, however, are expected to be more proactive in making sure that visits happen. Likewise, all parents must effectively communicate when a child is sick or otherwise can’t make it to a scheduled visitation day.

Parents who communicate openly and effectively when a child is refusing visitation will achieve better results if the case ends up in court than parents who do not communicate with each other when a child refuses to visit.

What to Do If Your Child is Refusing Visitation

Do not cede control of the situation to your child. Stay on top of the situation by finding out why your child is refusing to spend time with their other parent. Find out if something negative or bad happened or if there have been major changes in the other parent’s home that might be affecting your child. Put simply, you must do your best to understand why your child is refusing visitation.

In this situation, you must protect your child, but you must also protect yourself if things get out of hand and end up in court. Document the instances when your child refuses visitation and the circumstances and reasons for the refusal because you may need to defend yourself in court and present evidence to show that you are not intentionally violating the court order.

You should likewise contact the other parent right away if your child is refusing visitation to let them know about the situation and ask them if they can suggest solutions.

Talk to a Skilled TX Family Lawyer Now

If you have any concerns or questions about your rights as a parent or need guidance with a child custody case, please don’t hesitate to contact Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC. Schedule an appointment with our TX family lawyer by calling 210-222-9132 or reaching us online.