Can a child refuse visitation with a parent?

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

My teenage daughter no longer wishes to visit her mother.

If she refuses to spend visitation time with my ex-wife, can I get in trouble for that? Is there a way I can stop these visitations?


In order to modify an earlier order, a new suit must be filed. In order to change the terms and conditions of an existing court ordered custody arrangement, you will need to file a suit to modify custody.

A custody order can generally be modified on four different grounds: 1) an agreement by the parties plus it is in the best interest of the child, 2) the child is at least 12 years of age and expresses a preference of which parent he or she prefers to live with, plus it is in the best interest of the child, 3) the parent with the exclusive right to designate the primary residence has voluntarily relinquished primary care and possess of the child for at least six months, plus it in in the best interest of the child, and 4) there is a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child and it is in the best interest of the child. See Tex. Fam. Code §§ 153.007(a) and 156.101.

Applicable here is the second ground.

The court can modify a custody order if (1) the child is at least 12 years of age and expresses a preference of which parent he or she prefers to live with in chambers to the court, and (2) it is in the best interest of the child.

To determine whether the modification would be in the best interest of the child, the court considers various factors, including caring for the child, maintaining family relationships and parental fitness. To determine the child’s preference, the judge will interview the child in chambers.

For more information please contact a Texas family law attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.

Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.  

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19 comments on “Can a child refuse visitation with a parent?

    I don’t like my birth mother, therefore I don’t want to visit with her anymore. I have visitation with her every other weekend. I also see her on Wednesday’s for dinner. I think that I should be able to choose whether I visit with her or not because I think and other people think that I am of age (I’m almost 14), I do not like her, I want to live with my dad, and our relationship is getting to where she is being physically aggressive. What should I do?

    My child is almost 3 years old and her dad came and met her for the first time 2 months ago and hasn’t seen her since , he dosen’t help me with anything for her, now he wants to take her for extended visits out of state. She cries every time I bring up that she might have to go see daddy for a little bit. And yes I have a re order and I’ve been to rehab. But I’m clean and sober now and my kids are happy and safe

    My step son wants to spend more time with his mom, although she has primary custody, works all of the time and violates visitation with us under some excuse all of the time. We have younger children and his complaint is it is not just him and his dad anymore. My husband bends over backwards for this kid, and his ex plays on emotional strings to violate the order. She is never home, leaving him on his own with a troubled older brother all of the time. He thinks by coming here for two hours on a Tuesday and every other weekend, that is the reason he misses his mom…she has him completely manipulated and now he is pulling the “I don’t want to go” at 10 years old. Sometimes it is jealousy of other siblings that brings on not wanting to visit. He is allowed to do whatever he wants at his mom, mostly because there has been no adult supervision since he was VERY small. The ex has now resorted to calling the police every time she doesn’t want to honor the court order, instead of just doing what is right. Today she filed a bogus charge against my husband. She has been doing everything she can, even since my step-son was a baby to get rid of my husband. Her older son has been manipulated to not visit his dad either. What is someone supposed to do then? My husband has never missed a child support payment, has bent over backwards to be there for his son, and she has lied and manipulated our son against his father. What do we do? Especially with no money to fight??

    This article never answered the question. That is ridiculous. They asked about visitation, not living preference. Obviously the child lives with the father but does not want to see the mother. That is what the question is about, not living situation.

    I’m in California. My daughter turned 18 in January 2017 but wont graduate high school until June 2017. She does not want to continue visits with me.

    I pay child support. Is she mandated to visit with me?

    my daughter is 10 years old and it is court ordered for her to see her father but the last 2 weekends she has come home saying thank god that weekend is over she don’t like it there they are mean to her they blame her for stuff that she don’t do they yell at her for every little thing and they harldy have food in the house like for today my daughter said she only had cereal and chips today because no one cooked anything

    I’ve just recently turned 16 and I haven’t wanted to go to my dads house for a very long time. We don’t get along and his girlfriend is just not a nice person and I don’t want to spend time around either of them. But I’m afraid that if I refuse to go he will try and get my mom in trouble. He’s done it before for small things and I really don’t want to go to my dads but I don’t want my mom to get in trouble. And I am positive that he won’t give my mom full custody. But is there any way that my dad could get my mom in trouble if I don’t want to go?

    I have a 12 ( soon to be 13 year old daughter that refuses to go to visitation with her father. She has been under professional counseling for several years as well and dr’s state it is not in the childs best interest to force visitation. Father has submitting an ex parte stating I am in contempt for not “allowing her to visit him. He has already signed two agreements stating he would not force child to visit. Is there a black and white age when it truly becomes the childs choice?

    I’m 17 years old and I live with my dad, he has full custody of my brother (16 years old) and me (girl). I don’t get along with him at all and I wanna go to my moms on his weekends but he tells me I can’t. Am I capable of refusing to spend time with him on his weekend although he has custody of me?

    If the child is unhappy, subjected to inappropriate behaviors and involved or witnesses said behavior then as long as the child is of sound mind, they should be able to choose who they want to spend their time with. If the court is involved, its because one or both parents are attempting to retain control. In my experience, its not about the kids at all. Its all about control and financial gain. Children are not pawns in a chess game and should be given the respect to know what is in their best interest at a specified age. California says 14 years old and the child has a voice. I think it should be 12 but that’s just my opinion. The root of the problem is these damn medications that make people crazy, literally. Seems hopeless at times but at least my kids have been taught to stand up for what they believe and respectfully voice their concerns. Just sayin

    What about a convicted criminal
    THats not correct You may be a normal person. Some people have mental illness that are difficult to digniose such as; anti socail disorder, etc.
    You have probaly not let your children OD, play with your illegal drugs, let you 3 yr old play with power tools. take your baby to drug dealers with 2 attack dogs, killed your pets in front of children. The list goes on and on

    I think that custody arrangement should be grafted in stone even when the child want them to change. That child didnt become a member of the family of choice. Their presence in the family was executed by the sole discretion of two parents. This should not change simply because of divorce. It is both a sin to do so and a belittling of the role of each parent in the life of his/her child. A war that must be fought, it unsuccessfully in court and through the due process than by blood!!!!!!!

    If the parent makes the child feel bad about themselves or it is emotionally damaging to the child then of course that child has a right not to want to spend time with that parent!! Would you like the court to order you to be around someone who is emotionally unhealthy for you. Jeez kids have feelings too.

    I agree. I have a daughter is 13 years old and she doesn’t want go his house or see him ever again. It’s really bad and there step mom put her nose in our kids issues.

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