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My teenager no longer wants to come with me during our scheduled visitation time. What are my rights?

Dix Hills, NY |

I have a visitation schedule in my divorce stipulation from 9 years ago that allows me to pick up my children three nights a week and two weekends during the month. My eldest son (14) has decided recently that he would rather stay home with his mom and play video games during our scheduled time. His mother encourages him staying home and has stated this in emails she sent to me. I have not seen my son in 3 weeks. His siblings say it is because hes always playing video games and their mother has stated openly that I "chose" my new wife over "spending time with them" and he is mad about this. I believe she is alienating him. He will not come out of the house or speak to me. I miss him. What are my rights now that hes 14? What is the first thing I need to do to get my visitation with him back

Attorney Answers 4


  1. What you describe is classic parental alienation and it sounds like you have proof of this. You need to file a petition in Family Court to enforce the visitation agreement.

    I would strongly suggest that you contact an attorney regarding this matter as these types of claims are complex and difficult to prove.

    I am an attorney with over a decade of experience in Matrimonial and Family Law with offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I have experience in all five boroughs as well is Nassau and Suffolk County. I can be reached any time at 347-289-5886. The opinion expressed in this ad based upon the limited information provided and do not indicate an attorney-client relationship


  2. Fourteen year olds vote with their feet. You'll fight a losing case. The cops and court cannot force a fourteen year old to do anything.

    Good luck.


  3. The child's mother should not be encouraging the child to stay home. You have options and should speak with a family lawyer for additional information.


  4. Your situation is not unique and happens to many parents after divorces, often years after the divorce. These situations present the courts with some of its greatest challenges. Obviously, your wife should not be promoting the child to stay home and play video games. But, often, there are underlying issues in the relationship with the child and the parent seeking visitation. Unfortunately, courts are not well equipped to handle this type of scenario. As a result, before going to court, I suggest you try a few alternatives.

    First. try arranging fun weekend activities or trips that might lure your son away from the XBox. A trip to an amusement park, football game, etc. If the choice is staying at home with his video games, in his regular room, over cramming into your place for a weekend just to see you, he will choose his comfortable spot on the couch in front of the tv every time. He is, after all, a teenage boy.

    If that does not work, try counselling, with a social worker or psychologist to work on your relationship with your son.

    Only if all else fails, and your ex-wife blocks the joint therapy, should you consult a lawyer and go to court.

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