I am a mother of two girls and one boy all over the age of 11 to 15. My ex has visitation with the children every other weekend they are not too happy to go visit him. I have tried to tell them many times they have to spend time with him just like they do with me. Today my 11 year daughter tells me that she told her father that she didn’t want to visit him anymore, he in returns tells her to stay with me when it’s their time to visit. At this point I’m not sure what to do because if I don’t allow her to go the next time visitation rolls around because of what he said he’ll deny he said it and call the law to me. Can anyone please suggest what I should do or what legally I can do??? Thank you so much for any advice.
Children do not get to make decisions about visitation. If you have a court order on custody, and a child refuses to go on a visit, your former spouse may file a motion seeking to have you held in contempt. The court will evaluate your role in the failure to visit and determine whether you willfully violated the court’s order. Your responsibility is to make the child readily available and must not to hinder your former spouse’s efforts to spend time with his children. The only time you should defy a court order or violate an agreement regarding visitation or custody is if you feel that the child is in actual danger with the other parent (which you would need to prove).
In this situation it would be best to file a motion to modify custody. At your hearing on modification, the judge can consider your children’s opinions. The judge can take a child’s wishes into account if the judge determines the child is mature enough to express such an opinion and that such an opinion would be valuable to his or her determination of custody. There is no set age for this, though it is certainly the case that the older the child is, the more weight their opinion is likely to be given by the court.
My X was informed by our 11 year old daughter that she felt “uncomfortable” visiting him when his girlfriend would sleep over (in the same bed with him). My X got mad at her and told her she could stay home with Mom for the 4th of July and he would take her older brother and younger sister with him since she felt so uncomfortable. I was livid that he dismissed our daughters feelings. I had plans since it was his weekend that I was able to adjust, but at the same token I felt it was not right for him to exclude her and only take the 15 year old and 8 year old. So, the next morning I filed a contempt motion against the parenting agreement. My X kept insisting that our daughter said she “did not want to go” but that was not accurate. She likes his friend but just feels uncomfortable seeing her dad sleeping with a person he is not married to (our daughter has gone to Christian school since she was 4). On July 3, when he arrived to pick them up our daughter went out to tell him she wanted to go with him on the trip…He refused…I had the parenting agreement in my hand and stated 'all 3 with you or all three stay with me." He called the police and tried to convince the officer that our daughter had stated she did not want to go…the officer spoke to the two other children and to me and discovered my X was not being honest. My X then tried a play on words saying “they can all go”…“she just does not want to go”…the officer said, “OK, well since they can all go then we will come outside and you can talk to the children.” We all went outside and I was amazed to see him shake his head and tell her NO again—in front of the officer he had just said otherwise to. Unbelievable. The officer told us he could not enforce the parenting agreement, which surprised me. But since I had filed the contempt motion that morning, that protected me from him coming after me. When it all initially started I felt that the children did not need to go with him if he was going to potentially browbeat our 11 year old the entire weekend for voicing her feelings. But I had to follow protocol for my own protection. The officer told me it was smart I did that. The Judge signed the motion a few days later while I was on an impromptu vacation with my children luckily at a place that was FREE in a resort area in the mountains. I hope that my story helps someone else that may be dealing with a self centered fool like my X.