Can You Force An 18-Year-Old To Follow Custody Schedule?

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

My son is 18 years old and will be considered emancipated in a few months. My ex-wife allows him to live in her vacation home unsupervised and it has led to a lot of problems, e.g. a DUI, property destruction, etc.

Even though he is 18 and legally an adult, since he is not considered emancipated can I force him to honor our parenting time schedule and have him live with me the majority of the time as the decree states in order to keep him out of trouble?


Since I am only licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, I can only provide you with general divorce help for men to your divorce laws question.

Individuals are not emancipated until they reach a certain age or life event that would justify emancipation.

Once a child is emancipated, the Family Court loses jurisdiction over their person and cannot compel them to exercise any custody schedule. Legally, you do have the right to enforce your parenting time schedule with your 18-year-old son as he is not considered emancipated for another couple months in your state, as your question states.

Practically, however, I wouldn’t recommend spending the time and money with the court system. Chances are, your son will become emancipated before anything substantial is accomplished.

Instead, I recommend approaching this problem as one adult to another. Under the law, he may be able to make his own choices but that doesn’t mean he is making good ones.

If you are concerned about his behavior, try identifying and addressing the root of the conduct. Invoking child custody schedules will not get your far on these issues.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer Daniel Exner, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Can You Force An 18-Year-Old To Follow Custody Schedule?

    Mallen, you must file an enforcement/contempt petition or motion. The children MUST follow the court ordered visitation, they do not get to choose. This happened to me and the judge found him in contempt but gave him two weeks to get the kids to ny from fl, makeup time, and the threat of 180 days in jail. The judge also said there is a problem with the custodial parent’s parenting skills if the children do not obey.

    13 year olds
    What do you do when a 10-13 year old decide they don’t want to follow the parenting schedule? The custodial parent states there isn’t anything she can do. We know this is a result of parental alienation but what does a judge do? Absent any abuse by the noncustodial parent.

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