Can a Child Refuse Visitation in Arizona and at What Age?
Visitation rights enable a non-custodial parent to spend time with their children. Numerous factors are taken in consideration when a visitation arrangement is being made in Arizona. In most instances, the two parents will reach an agreement that benefits everyone, especially the kids.
What if kids don’t want to see their non-custodial parent, however? Do they have the right to refuse a visitation and if so – at what age?
Can Children Refuse Parental Visitations?
Arizona laws do not set an age at which kids have the right to refuse a parental visitation.
Generally speaking, children do not get to choose whether they’re going to see a parent or not. It’s the job of the Arizona court to determine what’s in the best interest of the child. If one of the parents poses a threat, chances are that they will not get visitation rights.
Still, there are some scenarios in which the court will take the child’s preferences in consideration.
Whenever a child is considered to be of a suitable age and maturity level, an interview could occur to give the court a better idea about what they want. Keep in mind, however, that the preferences of kids and their best interest are not always one and the same thing. Hence, parental visitations can be scheduled even if a child doesn’t want to be in contact with their father or mother.
What if a Child Refuses Visitation?
Even if a court determines that parental visitations are in the best interest of a minor, a child could still refuse to see their parent.
A court order for parenting time is legally binding for both parents. This means that the custodial parent will have to do everything they can to make sure that the visitation will take place. A parent who does not bring a child to an appointment, for example, will be violating the court-ordered terms and conditions of custody.
If your child is refusing to see you and your ex does not honor the custodial arrangement, you have the right to turn to the Arizona court and ask for enforcement via a mandatory visitation.
In case your child still refuses to see you, it will be up to you to determine what’s the best way to move forward. One of the possibilities is to petition for the modification of the custody agreement.
Modification of the custody agreement is possible under the following circumstances:
- Whenever both parents agree to the change
- If a child is of suitable age and maturity level to express their preferences
- There has been a substantial change in the child’s circumstances
- The custodial parent has voluntarily given up their rights
Once again, the child’s best interest will be the key determining factor in all of these scenarios. If the two parents agree to modify the custody agreement but the child is not going to benefit from such an arrangement, the court isn’t going to approve it.
A Few Other Tips for Addressing the Situation
Turning to court when your child refuses to see you isn’t always the best approach.
For a start, talk to your ex about the situation and try to identify the factors contributing to the refusal. Working as a team, regardless of the fact that you’re divorced, will inevitably benefit your child.
If you believe that your former spouse is manipulating or abusing the child, you’ll need to get in touch with your divorce attorney immediately. Proving such acts can be very difficult, unless you have solid evidence. Hence, you should speak to an experienced legal professional about the best way to address the situation.
Click here for information on Arizona domestic violence laws.