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At what age can a child stop visitation with non-custodial parent in WA State?

Seattle, WA |

My daughter is almost 11 yrs old. The court system here in WA gave my ex-spouse (her Step-Father) visitation rights. She has never considered him her father, and it's getting more and more difficult to keep with the visitation schedule. He doesn't allow her to participate in school sports or attend any social functions she's invited to when it's his visitation. His attitude is it's his visitation and he will do what he wants on those weekends. It upsets her that she can't participate with her friends. Right now, I can still physically get her into a car. But what happens when the teenage years commence? Trying to talk with him about it is perceived as me being negative. How old does a child have to be when she legally can refuse to do the visitation without me being out of compliance?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. There's no real age for this and, unfortunately, you may be held responsible for your child's refusals if you give in to them. Best to confer with an experienced attorney if/when this starts happening to keep youself from being held in contempt of court. Feel free to contact us for a free, no obligation initial consultation.

    Jack Berner,
    BERNER LAW GROUP, PLLC
    (425) 259-6533

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


  2. 18. When she is 18 her compliance is no longer your problem. In the meantime, please go read Marriage of Rideout, which is the leading case on visitation in WA right now. If the Court gave him time with her, the Court believed it was in her best interests. If this was not correct, the time to point that out was at the trial, not significantly later.

    He is not required to attend functions not of his planning when it is his residential time. I know this sounds harsh and it is not what you want to hear. If she's really unhappy, she needs to discuss this with a counselor, preferably the GAL who assisted the Court during the dissolution trial to make her needs and concerns known.

    Your other alternative is to utilize the Alternative Dispute Resolution provisions of your parenting plan and go discuss this with a mediator. This is a lot less expensive than going to court. There is no basis under these facts to allow your 10-year old to be in charge of the plan and the decisions. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

    Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.

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