You Absolutely Cannot Be Seen To Be Collaborating With the Teenager To Refuse Visitation
Video Transcribed: Hello, my name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a father’s rights attorney in Tulsa, and today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about teenagers and visitation. Teenagers can present a special problem when it comes to visitation because unlike smaller children, you’re not physically forcing a teenager to go to visits, for obvious reasons. How do you handle that?
Let’s say you’re the custodial parent, and your teenager says, “By God, I’m not going to visit mom because I don’t want to.” Well, obviously, as I said, you’re not going to physically force that teenager to go. What do you do?
Well, probably the first thing to do is to try to explore why they don’t want to go. You want to make sure that you’re not dealing with situations where there could be an allegation of abuse or neglect. If you run into those, those should be taken seriously.
Don’t try to figure out if they’re telling the truth or not. Assume that they are for the purposes of what your actions are going to be, and take appropriate actions. You don’t want to ignore or poo-poo those kinds of allegations. But, let’s assume that’s not the case. Let’s assume that maybe your teenager says, “Well, I just don’t feel like it,” or, “well, dad grounded me last time, or mom grounded me last time,” or something of that nature. How do you handle that?
Well, the first thing to understand is your child cannot choose to not go to visitation. If it’s court-ordered, it’s court-ordered. They don’t Have a choice, any more than you have a choice, about whether or not that you make them go. You need to communicate it in no uncertain terms to the child that they have to go.
If there are no serious allegations made, you need to explain to them they have to go and it’s not optional. If they continue to refuse to cooperate, then at that point, your best course of action is probably going to be to communicate this fact to the other parent and tell the other parent, “Look, this is the problem I have.”
They may want to talk to the child as well, and if you have a good working relationship, that’s probably your best first course of action. But, if that’s not an option, or if it’s not workable, you may have to be the bad guy in that and take away privileges or ground them if they refuse to comply.
But, in any event, you absolutely cannot be seen to be collaborating with the teenager to refuse visitation. If you don’t have a good reason to be stopping visitation, meaning something that would be supporting, for example, a notice of suspension of visitation under the statutes, it doesn’t matter what your teenager tells you as far as not wanting to go over there.
If it’s not a serious situation like abuse, neglect, or some other circumstances that you can backstop court proceedings with, then the child has to go. Then, you need to be clear about that and you cannot be seen as collaborating with them and denying a visit. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney, and we’ve been talking about teenagers and visitation.