Most parents want to have good relationships with their children but, unfortunately, things don't always work out that way. One problem that can develop when people with children get divorced is the kids may not want to spend time with the second parent. This can put custodial parents in a tough situation and unsure of whether they should abide by their kids' wishes or force them to go with the co-parents. Here's what the law has to say about this issue.

The Best Interests of the Child

As the one subjected to the family court order, you have a legal obligation to fulfill the terms of the custody and visitation agreement. If you fail to perform the duties required, you could be found in contempt of court and face repercussions such as fines and jail time. Therefore, it would be in your best interests to do all that you can to get your child to agree to visit with the other parent when it's time to stay with him or her.

However, courts tend to put the welfare of children before everything else and typically decide family matters based on what's in the best interest of the kids involved. If there is legitimate reason why your child doesn't want to go with your ex-spouse, you should not make him or her go. For instance, if the child claims he or she is being abused by your ex (or by someone who lives in your ex's house) and can provide evidence of this, then you would be justified in keeping your kid away until the situation was rectified.

Options for Handling the Problem

Most of the time, a child's reluctance to visit with a parent can be attributed to an interpersonal issue he or she is having with that parent. For instance, the child may unfairly blame the other parent for the divorce or may not want to obey the parent's house rules. The best thing to do in this situation is to talk to your child and try to work out a resolution. This may involve coming together with your ex-spouse to deal with the problem or participating in therapy or counseling individually or as a group.

If the problem involves abuse, neglect, or similar child welfare issues, then your best option is to go to court and have the custody order modified so your kid is not required to be around your ex-spouse. This can be done on a temporary basis until the situation is improved or resolved or on a permanent basis if it appears further contact with your ex would only harm your son or daughter.

To explore your legal options for dealing with this situation or assistance with getting a custody order changed, contact an attorney like Cragun Law Firm.