Can you “force” your 13 1/2 year old daughter to go on visits with her father when she is angry and wants no part of him?

My husband of 18 1/2 years recently sent me an email indicating he wanted a divorce. No talk, no reasons given, nothing. 7 weeks ago we went to court for temporary orders to be in place. However, my 13 1/2 year old daughter refuses to see and/or talk to her father and wants no part of any visitation right now. She is bigger than I am so I can’t physically put her into the car. I have encouraged and tried to support the visits, although I have not forced her to go. When I attended a mandatory class on divorce the counselors there told me my daughter shouldn’t be forced so early?

Asked on October 16, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Where did you attend the mandatory class on divorce? Was it set up through the court system?  Then you need to contact the counselors or whom ever set it up and let them know that this is happening against your best efforts to live up to the order. You are treading on verythin ice here and you could get in to a heap of trouble - yes you - if she does not comply.  You need to consult with an attorney abut what to do.  Why are you putting her in a car anyway?  Why is he not picking her up from some neutral place?  You need to have that modified from here on in and you need to explain to your daughter point blank that if she wishes to refuse then she needs to make that known but that you have to bring her to the designated drop off place and then stay out of the confrontation with her father when she refuses.  Or ask the court to appoint her an attorney and let that attorney request to modify and have her testify.  But you need help here now.  Good luck.


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