“If a child doesn’t want to go with the other parent, what can people do in that situation to make things work better?”
The problem is that to make no effort to get the child to go with the other parent could be a mistake, because there is now a factor under the Code where you’re supposed to encourage your children to go with the other party. And if you don’t encourage and make an effort it could be detrimental to your custody action.
If you have young children hard to say that you should be able to make them go or get them to go with the other party. But as they get older, then it can be problematic. The parent may literally be unable to do anything, and probably in that instance the court may not be as concerned. But if it’s a younger child the court is going to be concerned. I think that the best advice a lawyer can give right now is to make every effort, so that if this is an issue later on in a court proceeding, you can tell the court, show the court, prove to the court, that you’ve made an effort, that you did everything you could if in that particular situation it didn’t happen. If the visit didn’t take place, the custody didn’t take place, you’re probably able to provide to the court why it didn’t happen and that you did make the effort.
There are many cases where a child won’t go for the weekend or a child won’t go even for the dinner or the child won’t go for the vacation. I mean it happens with some frequency. Maybe the child’s afraid of the other parent. Maybe the child’s having a fight with the other parent. Maybe the child is manipulating both parents. But the advice I would still give to any party who has that recalcitrant child is you need to make an effort and you need to either accomplish it, or if you don’t accomplish it, to be able to demonstrate to the court that you made a valid effort.
David L. Ladov is a partner and co-chair of the Family Law Group at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. He focuses his practice on divorce, including custody, child support, equitable distribution, abuse and domestic relations. David can be reached at (267) 675-4976 or [email protected].
Robert Whitelaw is a managing partner and co-chairman of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP’s Litigation Department and Family Law Group. He has 40 years of experience in practicing family law. Robert can be reached at [email protected] or (215) 665-300.