You made it through the most treacherous element of any divorce involving children – child custody arrangements – but a new problem has arisen. If you are the custodial parent and your children do not want to visit your ex, it can be a very emotionally, logistically, and legally difficult situation.
Forcing your children to do something they do not want to do is painful, especially in the aftermath of a difficult divorce (and every divorce is difficult for the children involved). Not adhering to a court-ordered visitation schedule, on the other hand, is tantamount to being in contempt of court. There are, however, things that you can do to help deescalate the situation. If you have concerns about your child custody arrangements, speak with an experienced Central Texas family law attorney today.
The Court’s Stance
The court’s stance regarding visitation is that it is in the best interests of the children to spend time with both parents – barring a credible reason to the contrary. Children are not presumed to know what is best for them. Parents make their children do plenty of things that they do not necessarily want to do. Bedtimes and homework come to mind. It is with this in mind that the court expects its visitation orders to be followed. If your children are giving you fits about the matter, however, it can be extremely hard on you and them.
Helping Your Children Clear this Hurdle
Your children may well be taking their cues from you. It is almost impossible to remain outwardly neutral throughout the divorce process, and your children are bound to have picked up on your exasperation (and worse). Talk to your children, and help them understand that the differences and problems you and your ex have been going through are solely between the two of you.
Encourage your children to spend time with your ex, and demonstrate to them that you will also be thrilled upon their return. This strategy can help ensure that they do not feel like they are in the middle and that they do not feel like you are asking them to pick a side. Building a new normal can take some time, but helping your children understand that you want what is best for them and that spending time with both parents is part of the deal will help.
If you have a credible reason to believe that unsupervised visitation with your ex is not in your children’s best interests, you need to consult with a knowledgeable Central Texas family law attorney immediately. If you are concerned that your children are being emotionally or physically abused by their other parent, it is time to act.