No matter how gently parents may proceed with their breakup, there is always the chance that children will not take it well. Younger children may appear confused, and older children may act with rebellion. Sometimes this can make child custody issues tricky, especially when a child refuses to comply with the parenting schedule or California court order.
It is not uncommon for children to refuse to go with one parent following a breakup. Visitation or shared custody arrangements may take the child away from friends or preferred activities, or the child may not like the rules in the co-parent’s home. Sometimes a child may refuse to go with a parent who has a new love interest. While the custodial parent may sympathize with the child, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Children under 18 typically cannot decide whether to comply with the custody order.
- The custodial parent must insist the child obey the court order.
- Parents who permit a child to refuse to see the other parent may find themselves facing a contempt charges.
- Parents should also look at their own behavior toward each other to see if they may be encouraging resistance in the child.
As long as there is no evidence of abuse or danger at the other parent’s home, the California court will likely insist that both parents receive their time with the child. A parent who is denied child custody, even because of a child’s refusal, may have cause to take the matter to court. By refraining from badmouthing the other parent, making transitions a positive experience and communicating with the child and the former partner, parents may positively influence their child.