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pannp
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what age can a child decide he/she doesn't want to
      #36668 - 10/13/05 06:33 AM

Please someone help. At what age can a child decide he or she doesn't want to visit on a particular day with the other parent on a scheduled visitation? I get so many different answers. I've been through 5 lawyers and have followed our court papers to the letter. But, when my daughters father comes to pick her up there are times that she refuses to go?! I try to talk her into going but she is going on eleven now and tells the police "I don't want to go" to their faces. I refuse to force her into going. The X will "call the police on her" as he puts it, and then I end up with reports filled against me as if I'm violating court documents. I think the greater question the police and courts should be asking is why doesn't the child want to visit with her father! It has been 10 years now of many of these situations and I've been in and out of courts and 5 lawyers later and still very frustrated as much as the first court hearing! I have to admit I am wiser but once your papers are written they are in stone and there is NO changing them. Can anyone relate? :confused:

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gr8Dad
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Easy answer...18... [Re: pannp]
      #36671 - 10/13/05 07:02 AM

"At what age can a child decide he or she doesn't want to visit on a particular day with the other parent on a scheduled visitation?"

Barring a specific court order giving the child control of visitation (which do exist in some cases), you are responsible for having the child go until the child is 18 years old.

"But, when my daughters father comes to pick her up there are times that she refuses to go?! I try to talk her into going but she is going on eleven now and tells the police "I don't want to go" to their faces."

Well, to begin with, if you can't MAKE an ELEVEN year old do something, the issue is with YOU, not Dad. What are you going to do when she doesn't want to go to school, or doesn't want to do her homework?

"I refuse to force her into going."

Then you are in contempt of court. It is your JOB to facilitate parenting time with the NCP.

"I think the greater question the police and courts should be asking is why doesn't the child want to visit with her father!"

Because Mommy won't MAKE her. It is a CONTROL issue, and if you do not nip this in the bud right now, you are going to have MUCH greater problems later on.

If there is NO evidence of abuse, neglect or mistreatment, you have NO reason to not "force" her into going with her father. Life is about doing things we don't "want" to do. But, as my wife says, at eleven, she is old enough for her wants not to hurt her.

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Miranda
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I agree with gr8dad [Re: pannp]
      #36682 - 10/13/05 08:38 AM

There is absolutely no reason why a 10 year old girl should be able to dictate anything regarding visitation. You are really setting yourself up for a terrible time in court.

Your ex is in the right to file a report of visitation denial, to document your contempt of the court order.

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13.1...because I am only half crazy!

Edited by Miranda (10/13/05 08:38 AM)


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Debi
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Re: what age can a child decide he/she doesn't want to [Re: pannp]
      #36698 - 10/13/05 09:17 AM

Why would you not want your daughter to spend time with her dad? I doubt that you let her decide if she wants to go to school. If she refused to go, would you refuse to make her? Of course not, because there is a law that says she has to go. There is also a law that says she has to go with her father. It's called your CO.

I'm not trying to be mean because I know when someone is involved im their own situation it involves emotion and those of us reading it are removed. You need to place yourself in your x's shoes and think about how you would feel if it was you your D didn't want to be with. Would you try to force it or would you walk away quietly and fade from her life? PLease consider your D lucky. She has a father who wants to spend time with her, and is not a threat to her safety (I'm assuming since you didn't mention that.) Maybe it's not best to call the police, but what else can he do? If you put a positive spin on it I bet she will start wanting to go and that would be best. Either that or sit down with your x and your Daughter and explain why it's important for her to havea relationship with her dad. Personally I don't think any child should be able to decide to see a parent or not, even if a court allows it, unless there is a danger factor.


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Emily67
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Re: what age can a child decide he/she doesn't want to [Re: Debi]
      #36705 - 10/13/05 09:32 AM

My husband has been through this so many times before....it's very simple, if Mom isn't actively, postively encouraging Dad's parenting time then the daughter will pull the control card out because she can. She is playing off Mom's conscious and unconscious cues and it will get much worse as she gets older. Wait until she is a teenager, she will EXPECT to control her Mother's home and will because Mom will lose control (it's happened with my SD, she calls the shots in Mom's house). If CPs encouraged a positive relationship between the NCP and the child, you would see less of this. It's very frustrating and this behavior will spill into the other aspects of her life and she will have difficulty functioning as a responsible adult later if she is accustomed to controling situations.

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AnneB
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Going to be on the opposite side here... [Re: Emily67]
      #36719 - 10/13/05 10:09 AM

I still think finding out WHY the child doesn't want to go is important. I still think most kids WANT to see the other parent and if they aren't wanting to go it may be a function of what is happening when they go and not because the CP doesn't want them to.

Of course my opinion is based on personal experience as is that of most people. When we were going through our divorce my ex barely even exercised, if he did, his EOW and Wednesday evening visits. So, that meant OW had his undivided attention 26 days a month--and my son only 4 with a couple of hours on Wednesdays. Now, my son had lived with both of his parents for the first 12 years of his life and was used to having lots of dad's time--and was very upset by the whole divorce, custody fight process.


Shortly after visitation started, my son broke his shoulder playing football. He was in an immobilizer, inflatable cast and sling for his arm. The first weekend that his dad picked him up, they went BOWLING. My son asked why they were going bowling when he wasn't even supposed to move his arm, much less bowl. Dad said it was because he had promised OW to go bowling. WTH? Who cares--they had 26 other days to go bowling. So my son sat there for 3 hours while they bowled--great fun for a 12 year old. The next Wed when he was going to pick him up, my son asked if the two of them could do something. His dad said yes, picked him up, took him to his house and of course she was there. So he lied. The next weekend he was supposed to have him, my son's shoulder was still in the immobilizer, he had to sit all weekend and watch them paint part of the house--once again they had 26 other days to do that, this whole process was new, and I think she just decided it was going to be done right then.

One of the other weekends he said they were going to the lake and wouldn't be back until 10 or 11--this was on a school night and he had my son call and tell me this. According to the court order his time ended at 6pm and he was supposed to return him to me. I told my son to let me talk to his dad. I told his dad no, that 11 was too late on a school night and that since the lake was only 30 minutes away they could be back by 9 surely. They went, left the lake and then went shopping in a nearby town and my son got home at 11:30pm. My son said he told his dad he needed to get home and his dad said, I will never forget this because my son was so upset, "I don't have to jump through hoops to do what your mom says. OW and I have some shopping to do and your mom can go to hell"

So, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out pretty soon why our son is less than excited with visitation. I course I never had to make him go because soon OW was getting upset saying that he got on her nerves or that they needed time on weekends to plan their wedding, blah blah blah.

So, I say look to the reason. The ONLY time my ex exercised visitation after we moved, and he gave consent to our move in exchange for my half of all our retirement (in other words he SOLD his right to be close to his son for money) he was SEVEN hours late picking him up and when my son asked him where he had been he said that OW had some shopping to do in Dallas and they had gotten delayed there, BUT that it was none of our business why they were late. WTH? Then for the visit, they spent the entire time looking at wedding cakes at bakeries and tile for a remodeling project--my son and his father did nothing together and his dad called me to come get him 2 days early (this was over Christmas holidays) because he said they had too much to do getting ready for the wedding.

Fast forward 4 years where they don't see each other even once. They see each other in August for one weekend and OW now wife wouldn't even let them go to Whataburger without her being there. It is almost amusing to my son now.

So, once again, I say look to the cause. I wanted my son to go with his father because I was so devastated I wanted time alone to just cry. But every time he went there was some problem just because dad was too selfish to care how the divorce was affecting our son and ALL he cared about was making OW happy. One weekend when he CHOSE not to exercise his visitation because she had other plans for them, he called that Saturday and was desperate to get our son because his parents were coming and he was afraid if they called my son would say he could see them and they would know I wasn't the problem here. As soon as his parents left, dad called me to come get our son.

So, yes, there are CPs who discourage the relationship, I am sure. But I get so tired of everyone blaming the CP when the kid doesn't want to go--like it is automatically their fault. I would bet that at least HALF the time the reason the child doesn't want to go is they get treated like they are insignificant and don't matter after they get there. Kids are usually anxious to spend time with people who care about them and their feelings. I KNOW that is the case in our situation.

And yes, I realize that life doesn't stop for a child's visitation. BUT when the process is new, the child doesn't like OW or the situation, and dad has only 4 days a month you would think, at least for awhile, that the child could occupy some sense of priority for those few days instead of OBVIOUSLY only doing what someone else wants. You know that no dad was excited about spending a whole weekend looking at wedding cakes! Dad could have gone outside with him and thrown the football, had our son help him rake leaves, anything that involved the TWO of them getting to spend some time together during this adjustment period. My son would call his father, remember that we were not divorced yet, and ask him to take him to football practice or something like that and his dad would say "I don't know. I will have to ask "OW" and get back with you." Then he never would call back. That is so pathetic! I still have to wonder how many of the complaning NCPs created their own problem and now want to blame it on someone else.


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Emily67
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Re: Going to be on the opposite side here... [Re: AnneB]
      #36722 - 10/13/05 10:20 AM

Anne, I have read your situation and I thoroughly empathize and I don't think all CPs are the reason....I only voice from my own experiences and I can compare I am a CP and I will not inflict my child with my own feelings regarding his father but I see my husband's ex actively and continually promote that their children have no relationship with him and I don't get it.

My ex husband is lazy, not financially sound and irresponsible. He is still a man I married and our son's father. I don't agree with his choices but he is not a threat nor bad parent...who am I to say "Okay, you were my choice at the time to have a child with but now since you wanted to be divorced, you are a lousy father and not suited to be with the child?" I am not buying that and it makes me angry. My husband's ex had not one but two children with him. He is responsible and mature, he serves our country but because he didn't want to remained married to her when she would not work with him actively to solve their marital problems, he is now a lousy father? She will tell the children he "abandoned them" although he has been to court to get visitation when she withheld, although he supports their extra curriculars beyond what the CS payment says, although he has to go to the schools to find out information because she won't share? Finally, although when her life spun out of control last year, she calls begging for his help and sends one of the two children to live with us so she can get it together and then when she wants the child back my husband is a bad parent again? Hello, if he were that bad a parent, why willingly send one to live with him? Again, not all CPs are this way but I am speaking from my own experiences.

I wish your child had a proactive loving father and when I read your posts, it makes me truly sad. Bless your son for having you.


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AnneB
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The irony of all that, Emily [Re: Emily67]
      #36726 - 10/13/05 10:40 AM

is that I still don't think he is a terrible father. He has acted like a complete jerk--there is absolutely no doubt about that.

I think his dad got caught up in the mid life crisis thing and went for the classically young female. So, even if he thinks he made a mistake he is determined to do whatever it takes to make/keep her happy. Our son says he can tell his dad isn't happy and excited like he was 4 years ago when the relationship was new. Our friends say the same thing.
I feel sad for the whole thing, because he was a good father until all this happened. And I know he loves our son. I am not sure he loves our daughter because of the way he has treated her since all this happened, but that story is too long to go into. And I think he could be a good father again if he was away from her and her extreme selfishness. That doesn't excuse him, but I think it explains the situation.

I realize that the kids have to go, no matter what, if the NPC wants to pick them up. But I think getting to the root of the problem and at least validating the child's feelings can do a lot to make the child feel loved and less helpless. All you have to do is say you are sorry that is happening and that you know they feel like they deserve better, but that people love in different ways and that NCP is doing the best they can right now. ANYTHING to acknowledge the child's feelings is so helpful.

I don't want my child to dislike his father--never in a million years. I don't want my kids to think I was an idiot to marry a jerk. Actually years ago when this first started I told my son his dad's relationship with OW was sort of like an addiction--you know, where you will do something you KNOW is wrong but you are determined to feed the addiction, whatever it is.

And my ex told my son he didn't consider him his son any more because he chose to live with me, all kinds of horrible things. The fact that my son still WANTS to see his dad and was so excited to see him in August is a testament to how I haven't tried to alienate him. Otherwise, I have had 4 years to say whatever I wanted and there was nothing to contradict it. I don't want my son to feel unwanted by his dad--the other day he wore his dad's high school letter jacket to school--he was so proud because of all the All-District, All-Region and All-State patches on it. Since his dad played college football, he thinks his dad lost interest in him again because he isn't able to play football right now. It makes me so sad. I don't even know what to do any more, but don't think I can do anything. His dad is on his own.

Thanks for your concern. The most amazing thing is that no one here can understand how his dad can do this because he is the kind of kid every person wants. He is the typical all-american boy--good grades, kind, polite, health conscious, very good looking (he looks like his dad and is built exactly like him) very athletic, and has beautiful girl friends all the time. He has no tattoos, body piercings, and is the ultimate preppy dresser, likes to watch football on tv and runs every day. He is most father's dream child--wants to get into a good college and would never consider not going. I just don't get it. Everyone else talks about how friendly and polite he is--his girlfriend's family told him that if they broke up they were keeping him and getting rid of her--and the girlfriend's dad is the CTO of one of the largest computer companies in Austin--they have high standards. His dad doesn't know what he is missing.


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Tabitha
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Re: what age can a child decide he/she doesn't want to [Re: pannp]
      #36732 - 10/13/05 11:11 AM

My son is 5 and frequently over the past few years, when I tell him his father is picking him up.... he says he doesn't want to go. When I ask him why, his reasons are things like, their house isn't clean (It's actually filthy and I'm a total clean freak) or that his stepsister doesn't give him enough bathwater to play in. I tell him that doesn't sound like big enough reasons to not see his father and that their relationship is more important than trivial stuff like that - and that different people live different ways and we have to respect that.

When he comes back from his Dad's, he always says he had a great time. I think it's just hard sometimes to go someplace where you don't really feel at home. His father only excercises visitation one, sometimes two evenings per week and rarely takes him for a weekend. It's hard to feel really comfortable someplace that's only yours a few hours a week. But, once he's there, he always enjoys it.

I always make sure I NEVER speak negatively about his father or their family. I frequently speak good things about his father and how much he loves him. My son feels comfortable telling me all about his visit and stuff that happens there because I don't quiz him about it other than asking him if he had a nice time. He doesn't feel like he has anything to hide, but then again, doesn't feel the need to reveal everything either.

Just thinking you might want to try a few of those techniques to encourage your daughter to spend time with her father. I know it must be hard to push her to go somewhere she doesn't want to go, but maybe you are unconciously putting that concern out there and she is reflecting your feelings.

--------------------
"You never really know a person until you divorce them."


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Melody
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At age 18 [Re: pannp]
      #36750 - 10/13/05 02:47 PM


Actually, a child may certain express their wishes, but that doesn't mean you go along with them, does it? I mean, I'd like to eat candy for breakfast too, sometimes, but we don't. We also go to school unless we are ill.

In my case, the children are 14 and 15 and have numerous shcool obligations now. They contact their father if something comes up that conflicts with his visitation, and they usually miss that visitation in order that they participate in their activity. But the difference here is that the father is agreeing to it. It's not that they can just tell him they don't want to.


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