How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Refuse Visitation?

Under the Georgia Code, children who are 14 years of age may refuse visitation with the other parent. This means that your child can’t unilaterally decide to stop visiting their other parent but can state their wishes or preferences with the court’s approval. The court will most likely uphold your child’s wishes unless it determines that your child’s wishes are not in their best interests. The court will take into account the child’s wishes based on these factors:

  • The motivation of the child is pure
  • The custodial parent is not influencing the child’s wishes to refuse visitation

Can I Allow My Child to Not Visit Their Other Parent?

No. Your child can’t refuse to visit their other parent if there is an existing visitation order. If you do, the court will consider this a violation of the court order, and it can hold you in contempt for failure to follow the visitation arrangement. The court will schedule a hearing, and the judge will talk to your child to find out why your child is refusing to visit their other parent. It will consider the following factors:

  • The age of your child
  • The child’s reasons for refusing visitation
  • Any efforts you have made to follow through with the court-ordered visitation schedule

The court does understand that you can’t really force an older child to visit their other parent and that forcing or talking a younger child into visiting their other parent is much easier. 

But, it must still determine whether the efforts you made to convince your child is fair or enough. Depending on the circumstances, the court may also consider ordering mandatory custody mediation, counseling for the child, and appointing a guardian ad litem for your child.

What Should I Do If My Child Refuses Visitation?

If your child doesn’t want to visit their other parent, whether due to unsuitable conditions, possible abuse, reasons your child can’t quite explain, or other concerns, and you believe that forcing your child to follow the visitation schedule will harm your child, you will need to have the custody and visitation orders modified. You will need guidance from a lawyer to modify the existing order.

On the other hand, if your child is refusing to visit you, you must also discuss your case with a lawyer to figure out the best options for your specific case. In most cases, the custodial parent may be influencing your child’s decisions. This is known as parental alienation, and the courts don’t take this issue lightly.

Reach Out to a Seasoned GA Child Custody Lawyer Now

If you would like to have your current custody and visitation order modified to better suit your child’s best interests and wishes, or if your child doesn’t want to visit with you and you believe the custodial parent may be responsible for this refusal, the seasoned GA child custody lawyer of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland can help. Please call 770-887-1209 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our GA child custody lawyer.