If My Child Doesn’t Want To See The Other Parent, Do I Have To Force Them?

The short answer to this question is “Yes.” This article will explain in more detail what happens when you withhold visitation of your child from their other parent.

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Standard Possession Schedule

In the Texas Family Code, the Standard Possession Schedule is legalese for the Texas Child Visitation Schedule. It is an annual schedule, running from January to December. It states which weekends and holidays each parent will have, and how much time in the summer the non-custodial parent will have with the child.

Child Support Issues vs. Visitation Rights

Some parents make the mistake of thinking that they can withhold visitation if child support is not up to date. This is not right since these are two separate issues. If your ex-spouse is not paying child support as ordered, it does not relieve you of your obligation to allow visitation. In fact, you are both in violation of the court order if this is the case.

Conversely, if you are denied your visitation rights as outlined by the court, that does not mean that you are no longer responsible for child support payments. Again, these are two separate court orders, and one is not dependent on the other.

What Happens if the Child Doesn’t Want to Go?

According to the Standard Possession Schedule, you are obligated to present the child to the other parent. Once presented, the other parent should encourage the child to go with them. The child does not have the ability to choose whether to honor the visitation. The adults make those decisions.

The Visitation Schedule Doesn’t Work for My Child or Me. Do They Still Have to Go With the Other Parent?

If the schedule set out by the court is not working, you must go back to court and request a change in the terms. Be prepared to show why you are asking for a deviation from the Standard Possession Schedule. You cannot decide to ignore the court ordered schedule if you don’t agree with it.

If the other parent takes you to court for violating the order, you might be held in contempt of the order. This may include penalties of fines or jail time. You may also be ordered to pay the other parent’s lawyer’s fees.

Does the Standard Possession Schedule Apply to Every Custody Case?

Not necessarily. The courts can decide if it’s appropriate to apply the Standard Possession Schedule. In cases where the visiting parent lives more than 100 miles away, modifications must be made. In cases where the child is under 3 years of age, modification may also be considered. In some cases, an older child may be allowed to set their own visitation with their other parent or speak in court regarding visitation.

The bottom line, whatever the court rules as appropriate must be complied with regardless of whether your child wants to see their other parent. Alienating your child against the other parent is frowned upon by the court. You must follow whatever the court decides concerning visitation rights. Failure to comply can end up in a contempt order for you. For more information, talk to our child custody lawyers today.