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What happen if my child refuse to go with her dad?

San Francisco, CA |

I have a 9 yr old daughter. Recently we have changed the visitation court order. My daughter is not happy about the new plan. When it was time for her dad to take her for the weekend, she refused to go. I packed her bags etc before the dad came. My ex and daughter had a little private talk, but that didnt change our daughter's mind. Then, my ex was not happy and just left. Am I responsible for this? Will I be charged in contempt?

My daughter told me she hates to go with her dad, because he often leave her and her brother(age 13) with someone else, while he has to go to work. And sometimes, he brings them to work too. (he owns a restaurant). They hate going to the restaurant, its boring. Another reason, his dad has a family now with a new baby. She feels being neglected. I've told the dad about this already, but he doesn't believe me. He thinks I made all this up. I did not encourage my daughter not to see her dad, but I encourage her to speak to her dad about anything. What can I do to make her go? I dont want to threaten her for things like that. I want to talk to her dad, but he ignores me. I can't talk to someone who doesn't respond to me.

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Attorney answers 1


You and your ex share the responsibility to make the custody and visitation plan happen. Often, when clients ask me the question, "Do I have to 'make' my child visit the other parent? I don't want to have to 'make' my child go if s/he doesn't want to." I ask them to replace the term "other parent" with either " pediatrician" or "math class." You can easily imagine kids not wanting to go to the doctor or to school but if your child had a problem with either of those would your first response be, "OK. Let me help you avoid that."? Of course not. You'd "make" them go because it's important for the CHILD. You would facilitate the conversation between the CHILD and the other parent so that any problems they have can be worked out between them. If the math teacher or the pediatrician wouldn't talk to you what would you do? You'd go over their head (to the head of the medical group or to the principal of the school) but you'd make sure it was taken care of. In this case that may mean you arrange with your ex to schedule an appointment with mediation at court or with a therapist to work out the issues but you don't fail to make the visit happen. Sometimes visits are boring, just like school and medical appointments. That doesn't change your obligation.

Will your ex charge you with contempt? Maybe. That's up to him and the burden of proof will be on him.



I had to make a comment here. If my child refused to go to the pediatrician, or math class, I'd know there was a real problem with the pediatrician or the math teacher-since my kids KNOW both are in their best interest. They are reasonable kids. They have always been right when it comes to getting a bad feeling about someone, and I respect it when they do. I'm all for working things out, if they can be worked out. But some people are just BAD. Period. I should teach my kids that their instincts shouldn't be trusted?