What can be done if my 12 year-old doesn’t want to go to her dad’s anymore?

He missed ages 3-6, then starting seeing her but only when he felt like it. In 2010 he missed her birthday and 2 very important performances she had.He didn’t speak to her for 8 months after that and now wants to come back around. She doesn’t want to go and would rather tell the judge she don’t want to go back. What is the best thing for us to do? She honestly says she wants him out of her life for good; its not right for him to choose when to be there. I agree. She also refused his Christmas presents. What do we do to make it easier for her?

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Family Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the non-custodial parent has court ordered visitation, then the child and custodial parent have to comply with it. If they do not, then the custodial parent can be held in contempt of court.  As a practical matter, it's often difficult to force a 12 year-old to do anything.  You could go to court and try to get the visitation portion of the custody order modified.  If there has been behavior such as you outlined, although short of abusive or unsafe, you may well be successful.  Considering that the "child" is at least 12, the court may well give more consideration to their non-visitation request. 

Note:  The custodial parent cannot be found to have initiated or co-operated in any non-visitation incident. 


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