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What to Do When Your Child Refuses to Visit Their Other Parent After Divorce


It can be absolutely heartbreaking when your child refuses to visit another parent after a divorce in Georgia. A part of you feels sad for your child, who is obviously going through a flood of emotions they are often not equipped to handle, and a part of you may even feel bad for your ex. At Buckhead Family Law, we see this struggle on a daily basis, and we want to help you make this transition as smooth as possible. There are a few different things you can do when your child refuses to visit another parent, which can be dependent on the child’s age.

First Thing’s First: A Custody Agreement Is A Legal Document

You need to know that a custody agreement or parenting plan is legal and binding, and both parents need to follow said agreement. If your child is old enough to understand what that means, you may be able to calmly explain to them that the custody agreement has legally been put in place with their best interests in mind.

For a younger child, you may need to use simpler verbiage to help them understand that sometimes there are rules they need to follow even when they don’t want to. Try to stay as positive as possible when explaining this “new normal” they are experiencing.

What to Do If It Is A One Time Thing

It is possible that your child generally wants to see the other parent, but there is a specific reason why they want to stay home this one time. Maybe it is because they aren’t feeling well, they have to work on a project, or there is something specific happening that they want to be a part of. In this case, you may need to work with the other parent to schedule a make-up visit. It’s helpful when both parents see the big picture, acknowledging that doing what’s best for the child should always be the priority.

Can You Get in Trouble If Your Child Refuses to See the Other Parent?

This is a very common question for many couples who have just recently gone through a divorce. If you have younger children and you do not make them available to the other parent, then there can definitely be legal ramifications. It’s complicated, and even if they don’t want to go and you refuse to take them, you can still get in trouble. However, if you have a teenager who simply refused go to see the other parent, it can be much more difficult to force them to do anything. Depending on the circumstances, you may not suffer any legal consequences in this situation, but it is important to talk with an Atlanta custody attorney about the facts and circumstances of your family.

What to Do When Your Child Refuses to See Another Parent

Often times, these kinds of situations arise after a divorce, so you must be prepared. If your child refuses to see the other parent, the first thing you should do is document it. Send the other parent a text message or email, and screenshot that text message. Try to work through it together to see why your child doesn’t want to go visit your ex and how you can make the situation better. It can be difficult, but it will be worth it in the long run.

If you have a particularly contentious or recent case, contact your attorney as soon as possible. If you are reasonably concerned that your child is being harmed by his or her other parent, you need to keep your child safe but also contact attorney right away in order to avoid any potential negative legal recourse against you. This isn’t a common occurrence, so generally, you need to show that you made every effort to make the visit possible.

At Buckhead Family Law, we know that you can be put in a difficult position if your child refuses to see another parent. Make sure that you protect your child, but understand that the relationship with another parent is very important, so you need to comply with your parenting plan  (as long as your child’s safety is not in jeopardy).

Need to Change Your Custody Agreement?

Co-parenting is difficult, especially when your child refuses to see their other parent on a regular basis, even though they have no reason not to. It is quite common for a child to prefer one parent or have fear of missing out when they aren’t with you. But it’s best to do all you can to make the transition as easy and smooth as possible for them. In some circumstances, a modification of your custody agreement and parenting plan may be appropriate.

No matter what, you need to work with your ex to create the best possible environment for your child. At Buckhead Family Law, our experienced legal team is here to present you with your most beneficial custody agreement and legal options and help you to move on with your life quickly while still getting what you justly deserve. We are here to assist you as you begin the next chapter of your life. Schedule a consultation today by calling at 404-600-1403.

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