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What to Do If a Child Refuses to Visit the Non-Custodial Parent

Divorce is already a challenging situation with many heightened emotions. When a child is resistant to switching homes and visiting a non-custodial parent, it can feel heartbreaking to enforce the agreement. As custody agreements are essential to follow, there are some things you can do to make the situation more comfortable for all parties involved.

Understand Why They Resist

Leave your feelings out of it as you have an honest conversation with your child about why they do not want to visit the other parent’s home. While it can feel satisfying to hear your child say that you are the favorite parent, that does not help the issue in the long run.

Many times, you may find that the child is afraid of change and the new home, environment, and rules that come with it. Get them excited about their new bedroom and send them with a blanket or pillow that will stay constant and remind them of home no matter where they are.

Plan Well for the Transition Days

A rushed and sloppy hand-off could contribute to your child’s adverse feelings about going to the non-custodial parent’s home. Cut out a chunk of time to allow for a slow, easy-going transition where they do not feel rushed to pack, jump out of the car, and run inside the other home. Instead, walk them up to the door, show them how safe and friendly the place is, and tell them you are excited to see them again soon.

Work with Your Co-Parent

Talk with your co-parent about your child’s feelings and devise a plan together to make it an easier transition for them. Your co-parent could call a few times per week and give a tour of the house to get them hyped about coming to stay. They could also bond in other ways by coming to school for lunch or taking them to a sports practice before the time comes to stay at their house.

Let the Professionals Help

Miles & Hatcher, LLP, is experienced in helping families adjust to new custody arrangements. Speak with our team about arranging an agreement that will be most comfortable for your children. Call to schedule a consultation about your family’s needs: (909) 481-4080.

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