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Does a child have the right to say that they don't want to visit with the non-custodial parent?

Glen Burnie, MD |

My soon to be eight year old son has been visiting his father every other weekend per court order for 6 years. He has never wanted to go, but I have always made him as I felt that it was in his best interest (long term). He has recently asked me to promise him that he would never have to go over there again. The rules and punishements that he recieves there are not similar to those that he recieves at home, and he is uncomfortable when he is there. If he asks to call me (mom) just to talk to me or to come home, he is told no. I don't know what to do. I have been making him go there for 6 years. In my opinion, if he hasn't started wanting to spend time with his biological father in 6 years, he is never going to want to.

I have spoken to the biological father regarding rules at punishments at his house, and am told that what goes on at his house is none of my business. Which I agree with. However, what goes on with my son IS my business regardless of where he is. I have sole custody with joint legal custody.

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Attorney answers 1


You may consider filing a motion to modify visitation, including restricting punishment and permitting your son to call him during visitations. However, unless there is abuse under Maryland law, courts are hesitate to interfere with parental rights. You stated the rules and punishment are different from what he receives at home. However, you didn't state what rules and punishment were offensive to you. Also, keep in mind, the judge may think that you are poisoning your son's mind against his father. This may cause adverse consequences if the father petitions for greater time with your son.

In addition, before filing the motion, you may think about having your son see a mental health professional. His or her findings may support your motion or discourage you from moving forward.

Also, if there is abuse that is recognized under Maryland law, you should call child protective services. However, don't file a false report or call because the father restricts your son from watching TV or eating junk food.