My Child Refuses Visitation. What are the Child Custody Laws in NJ?
Are you one of those parents who are now dealing with what to do when your child refuses visitation? You are not alone.
Did you know that 27% of fathers in the US have no contact with their children?
This can be based on various factors — statistically, mothers have a closer bond with their children (but this isn’t always the case).
There can be times when a child does not want to have relations with the non-custodial parent, whether the mother or father.
Is this what you’re currently struggling with?
If you’re in New Jersey, you may be wondering what the laws say about a child refusing visitation.
But before we delve into the child custody laws in NJ and a child refusing visitation, we would like to give you a list of a few recommendations.
Speak With Your Child
When a child refuses visitation, it can be quite hurtful for one parent while extremely challenging for the other.
While your child is refusing visitation with your co-parent, it is always advised that the parent speaks with the child before letting emotions take over.
Provide them with a safe and comfortable space where they feel free to talk openly.
This may give you a better understanding of why they refuse visitation, which can help when looking for a solution.
Speak With Your Co-Parent
After you’ve spoken with your child, set up a time to speak with your former co-parent, both parents must try to communicate in an effective and well-mannered way to develop the best solution for the child.
If the problem is not resolved after speaking with your child and former co-parent, a child custody attorney will need to be contacted to start the courts’ process to determine the best resolution.
Below we provide you with a few key factors that the courts will consider when a child refuses visitation.
What the Laws Say About a Child Refusing Visitation
Child custody in NJ works in the child’s favor, but this ultimately depends on the reasons for the child’s reluctance or refusal to see the non-custodial parent.
First, the child’s request will have to be heard by a judge.
The judge will likely take the older child’s opinion at a higher standard for families with multiple children. But this isn’t always true — the judge will weigh each request case-by-case.
From here, the judge will listen to the child’s request. The judge will try and identify some specific red flags, which include:
• The custodial parent has brainwashed the child
• The custodial parent isn’t rewarding the child for refusing the see the non-custodial parent
• Any potential harm or abuse against the child
Also, both custodial and non-custodial parents will have to prove to the judge that they’re following visitation orders with no possibility of brainwashing, abuse, and any other issues.
If necessary, the judge will issue an order to show cause if the judge needs more proof from the parents.
What Happens When the Child Turns 18?
In New Jersey, 18 is the age of majority. In other words, New Jersey defines the age of adulthood at the age of 18.
Unless there was an agreement specified by both parents, the 18-year-old could refuse the visitation without going through the courts. At this age, the child can also choose which parent to live with.
Does this mean teenagers younger than 18 can’t refuse visitation?
They can — they will have to go through the courts. The judge will consider different factors, such as the teenager’s preference and ability to form an intelligent decision.
The next course of action depends on the situation and what the judge orders. For the most part, if the judge doesn’t suspect harm or abuse, the visitation will continue as usual.
If your child still refuses visitation, try and find alternative methods to ensure they cooperate. For example, you can try taking your child to therapy with both parents and work out your problems with a professional.
If the judge suspects the child’s safety is at risk by spending time with their non-custodial parent, they will end the visitation rights. They may even suspend any additional parenting rights the non-custodial parent has.
Do You Need Help With Your Child Refusing Visitation?
When you are reviewing the child custody laws in NJ regarding a child refusing visitation with a parent, you must first and foremost understand that NJ laws are set up to protect the child and what is best for them at all times.
Because child custody laws in NJ are tricky to understand, it is vital to hire a child custody attorney who can represent your case with the utmost knowledge, experience, and professionalism.
What to do when your child refuses visitation? Contact Dalena & Bosch today.
Our child custody legal team comprises attorneys who work hard with dedication and perseverance to provide steady guidance and support through these family struggles. Our ultimate goal is to achieve the best outcome.
Our office is located in Madison, New Jersey in Morris County.