Does a child have to visit the non-custodial parent?

In most cases, it’s best for the kids of divorced parents to have healthy relationships with both. However, there are times when the custodial parent may be reluctant to send their child along for court-ordered visits, especially when safety is a concern. Very Well Family explains when it’s acceptable to keep your kids from court-mandated visits and what to do if you feel this is in the best interest of your child. 

For the court to decide that a parent should not have visitation, there are often extenuating circumstances at play. For example, accusations of abuse or neglect would naturally be a reason to keep your child home. You may also have concerns about your ex’s living conditions and the impact they could have on your kids. While these reasons are often considered valid for the courts to withhold information, less serious issues could be overlooked. Remember, you could be held in contempt for refusing a court order if you prevent your kids from seeing your ex. When you have concerns that don’t rise to the level of abuse or neglect, try speaking with your ex directly. You may be able to work out a compromise that pleases you both, whether it has to do with quality time or curfew. 

In serious cases where personal safety is a concern, it’s best to contact the courts. You’ll need to provide evidence for any claims you’re making, which should show that your kids face a significant risk of danger when visiting the other parent’s home. In this case, the court may choose to modify the order. This doesn’t always mean withholding visitation, however. If your ex has a drug issue, the judge may order rehab or other treatment before he or she can resume visiting the kids. 

You also want to check int state laws regarding visitation. For example, some state courts will allow withholding of visitations if the child does not want to spend time with the other parent, while in others this is not considered a valid reason to stop visits. If you have concerns, it’s best to speak with a family law attorney, who will help you make the best decision.