The kids are 12 & 13. The parenting plan gives their father the right to see the kids. The kids dont want to see him. Do I have to force them to go? What age do they have to be when they can make up their own minds?
Child Custody Lawyer
In Wa. , children never get to choose when and where they see the non-custodial parent. A Parenting plan is a court order and if the kids refuse to visit their Dad, you may be held in content of court by making sure that they visit their Dad as per the Parenting plan. The case upholding that doctrince is In re marriage of Rideout
Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Yes they must follow the court order and see their father.
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Family Law Attorney
"What age do they have to be when they can make up their own minds?" They can make up their own minds at any age since there is no real way for anyone to make up their minds for them. However, until they are 18 or older, they are minors and have no legal say in their residential placement.
As the parent, you are expected to use reasonable efforts to cause the children to comply with the parenting plan. The court is not expecting you to physically carry them to the father's car or house. The court is expecting you to tell the children to get into the car.
If the court decides that you are encouraging the children not to comply with the parenting plan, the court has the authority to change the parenting plan so that the children are placed with the father when "The court has found the nonmoving parent in contempt of court at least twice within three years because the parent failed to comply with the residential time provisions in the court-ordered parenting plan".
If the father is doing something to harm the children, you should file a petition for the court to look at the issue.
You should review the specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.