14 Year Old Doesn’t Want to Visit Father: What To Do Now?

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By Divorce & Finance

When a 14 year old doesn’t want to visit father, the mother could be under undue stress as they are legally obligated to facilitate visitation with the other parent. While teenagers could have their reasons for refusing visitation with the father, most child custody orders require them to honor visitation with the other parent. This leads to most parents wondering: can a child be forced to visit a parent?

14 Year old doesn't want to visit father

This article discusses why a child can refuse to visit the other parent and how to diffuse such situations.

Can a 14 Year Old Refuse to Visit the Other Parent?

No, a 14 year old cannot refuse to visit the other parent because family law provides that they should obey the court-ordered parenting plan entered during the finalization of the divorce. However, it’s not an uncommon scenario if a 14 year old doesn’t want to visit father.

So, at what age can a child say they don’t want to see a parent? Children can only decide not to see or visit either parent when they reach 18 because then they’re considered adults. However, children often have reasons for refusing visitation with the other parent, which could be challenging for the custodial parent (primary parent).

While most parents find it difficult to handle these situations, it’s vital to understand that the legal implications of a child’s refusal to attend visitations could affect the whole family.

– Reasons That a Child Would Refuse Visitation

The reasons why children refuse to visit the other parent often differ as family situations are unique. In some cases, the child’s custody preference may not have been considered during the divorce case, while teenage rebellion could be the reason in some instances.

Generally, some common reasons why a teenager doesn’t want to visit non custodial parent are:

  • An unfriendly environment at their father’s house due to the rules and routines they must follow
  • Having to travel far from their primary residence and away from friends, school, and activities they enjoy
  • Strenuous relationship due to frequent arguments and disagreements
  • Not getting along with the other parent’s new partner or other parties living at the other parent’s house
  • Harmful or inappropriate behavior by the other parent

Parental alienation could also be why a child refuses to visit their parent. If one parent emotionally manipulates the child against the other, the child could eventually refuse to visit the non-custodial parent.

Children could also refuse to visit their parents due to alcohol or drug abuse or abuse. If your 12 year old doesn’t want to visit dad due to substance use or physical abuse, you must speak to a family lawyer for your child’s welfare.

– Legal Concerns for a Child Refusing Visitation

It’s very uncommon for law enforcement to show up at your door to force your child to go and visit the other parent. However, the custodial parent may be summoned to appear at a show cause hearing if the other parent files an order to show cause.

Legal concerns for a child refusing visitation

Even if your 16 year old doesn’t want to visit father, you’re still legally obligated to ensure that they adhere to the court-ordered visitation plan. Otherwise, they may be required to appear in court and prove that they have made a reasonable effort to compel visitation and follow the existing schedule.

However, courts are conscious that “pushing” children to visit the other parent against their wishes can lead to far worse scenarios. Yet, they still require parents to be responsible and make sufficient effort to encourage visitation.

How Do You Deal With a Child Who Refuses to Visit the Other Parent?

To deal with a child who refuses to visit the other parent, make sure that you and the other parent are on the same page regarding the situation. That way, the problem would be half-solved. Encourage the child to go to visitation and facilitate smoother transitions.

As the custodial parent, you are responsible for managing the situation if your 17 year old doesn’t want to visit father. What do you do when your child doesn’t want to see their dad? Here are some valuable tips on what to do when a child refuses visitation with the other parent.

– Notify the Other Parent

Notifying the other parent is a good way to start to combat the situation. Let them know the child has refused to make the scheduled visitation. That way, you prevent any legal contest with the other parent.

In addition to notifying them, ensure that you document all the occurrences. By documenting the changes that occur with the scheduled visitation, you can easily share the records with the other parent or attorney.

– Encourage Visitation

A good way to deal with a child who refuses to visit the other parent is to encourage them to spend time together constantly. Taking charge of the situation also signals to the child that you are calling the shots, not them. While this can be an emotional situation, don’t let the child feel like they have their way – take responsibility as the parent and do everything towards honoring the parental agreement.

While listening to your child’s opinions is important, make it clear that you’re still in charge. Reiterate the fact that you and the other parent still love them. Make it clear that they need to spend time with the other parent too, even if they may not like it.

Encourage visitation for teens

It also helps to have a clear conversation with your child to find out why they don’t want to visit the other parent. Allow the child to express their feeling without judging. When responding, do so with understanding and kindness. That shows that you share their concerns and are ready to help them.

Involving the other parent can also play a vital part in resolving this issue. Getting the other parent to reach out and interact more with your child through phone or video calls makes for a better connection with the child. If possible, you can arrange a family meeting to discuss the issue. It would be better to involve a third party, such as a mental health professional, in the conversation as well.

– Facilitate Smoother Parenting Time Transitions

To encourage visitation, you ought to make parenting time transitions seamless. Know beforehand when your child is to leave for the other parent’s house and prepare everything they need. Similarly, be ready to pick them up when they’re due to return to your home.

Maintain a positive conversation regarding these visits. That way, you can help the child look forward to their next visit. By keeping your cool during transitions and facilitating a short and seamless process, your child will less likely dread spending time with the other parent.


If a 14 year old doesn’t want to visit father, the primary parent should take responsibility and strive to honor the terms of the visitation order. Here’s what to remember if your child refuses to visit the other parent:

  • If a child is refusing visitation, the primary parent should make a reasonable effort to ensure their child visits the other parent.
  • Sometimes, the primary parent may be held in contempt or summoned to appear in a show cause hearing if their child doesn’t obey the order to visit the other parent.
  • A great way to resolve this issue is to understand why the child is refusing visitation and work with the other parent to make visitation more enjoyable and comforting.
  • It is imperative that you involve a legal professional if your child’s reason for refusing visitation is emotional or physical abuse by the other parent.

Sticking to your parenting agreement after finalizing your divorce can be difficult if your child constantly refuses to visit the other parent. By talking to your divorce attorney about this possibility, you can gain valuable insights into dealing with this situation if you anticipate it.

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