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Can My Teenager Refuse Visitation With the Other Parent?

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Can My Teenager Refuse Visitation With the Other Parent?

Can My Teenager Refuse Visitation With the Other Parent?

by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

When parents get a divorce and children are involved, they are usually awarded child custody or visitation time. Parents are not always happy with these orders, but children do not always agree with them either. In some cases, a child may even refuse to visit with the other parent, and their objections often become stronger as they get older. This is a very difficult situation for both parents, and custodial parents often wonder if their teenager has the right to refuse visitation. The answer to this depends on many factors.

Child Custody Orders are Legally Binding

Child custody orders are legally binding, and both parents and their children must comply with them. In the event that a teenager wants to stop visiting with one parent, a parent must petition the family court for a modification to the original child custody order. As such, parents should never allow a child to refuse visitation until the order has been changed by the court, or they could face serious consequences.

The Best Interests of the Child

When determining if a modification is appropriate, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child. In Michigan, there are 12 factors regarding the best interests of the child, and they are as follows:

  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent,
  • The ability of each parent to provide love and affection and continue the child’s education and religious upbringing,
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the medical and material needs of the child,
  • The length of time the child has lived in their current home environment,
  • The permanence of the proposed or current custodial home,
  • The moral fitness of each parent,
  • The physical and mental health of each parent,
  • The child’s involvement in their school, home, and community,
  • The willingness of each parent to continue to foster a good relationship with the other parent and the child,
  • Any history of domestic violence, and
  • The reasonable preference of the child

In addition to these factors, a judge can also consider any relevant issue. Generally speaking, the older and more mature a child is, the more weight a judge will give their preference. Still, a judge will consider why the child is refusing visitation with their non-custodial parent.

When Will a Judge Allow a Teenager to Refuse Visitation?

A judge may modify a child custody order based on a teenager’s refusal in limited situations. If being in the home is harmful to the child, such as when there is domestic violence or criminal activity occurring in the home, a judge will likely weigh a child’s preference more heavily. However, if a teenager is refusing to visit their non-custodial parent simply because that parent is stricter or makes them do their homework when the other parent does not, a judge will not likely modify the child custody order.

Our Michigan Family Lawyers Can Help With Your Modification

It is possible to seek a child custody modification, but it is not easy. If your child is refusing visitation with their other parent, our Grand Rapids family lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office can help you seek the modification you need. We will present strong arguments to the court to give you and your child the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation so we can advise on your case.

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