Divorce is tragic and tortuous for a family. If you’ve got children, it’s even worse. Often times in a divorce situation, one parent will be named the primary guardian while another will be allowed visitation rights where a certain amount of days each month will be allotted to them to spend time with their children. It’s already a process that requires walking on eggshells and is only made worse if the child refuses the visitation offer.

Refusal of visitation after a divorce can get tricky very fast so you need to be proactive.

Tensions are already high, especially if you went through a custody battle. A child refusing to visit their other parent could be taken in a very negative way. There’s no need to panic or even force the situation, however. There are ways to tackle the issue that minimize the potential for drama, rather than heighten it.

Every case is different, and your child is in a situation unique to them, but here are some ways to respond to the situation to help everyone.


Don’t allow the incident to happen and then do nothing about it. It won’t reflect well on you in the eyes of your ex-spouse. If your child verbally refuses a visitation, document the incident and let your child’s other parent know immediately. If a court order keeps you and your ex-partner from communicating, notify your attorney.

Involve Your Ex-Partner

While court ordered protection may prevent you and your ex from being in certain geographical locations, do as much as you can to make this easy. Have your ex put in effort to making the visit happen, perhaps coming to your home, visiting at a neutral location, or even meeting you and your child halfway. Everyone needs to make an effort to make this work.

Find Out Why

Emotions run high, sometimes a refusal of a visit is the result of a child acting out but there can be deeper issues at work. You need to talk to your child and find out exactly why they don’t want to visit their other parents–involve therapists as needed. Don’t blindly take your child’s refusal at face value, no matter how tight-lipped they’re being.

Related Questions

What Do I Do If I Think My Child is Being Abused?

Unfortunately, this can be a common cause for children refusing visitation. If you suspect or have proof that abuse is the reason your child doesn’t want to visit their other parent, you need to call your attorney immediate and prepare evidence to present to authorities or a judge.

Are There Consequences If I Refuse Visitation?

After an agreement has been reached, legally, in terms of visitation, you must comply unless visits are posing a threat to the child. Hindering a visitation can result in a contempt charge from the court. So, you need to make it clear that you’re doing everything possible to make visits happen by documenting situations and being open with the court and your ex-partner.

Divorce is difficult, and there are plenty of roadblocks that keep it from being a smooth ride. If a refusal of visitation is causing a problem, get to the bottom of it, ASAP. The first step is to seek advice from a Family Law or Divorce attorney.

In Michigan, it is in the child’s best interests to spend as much time as possible with both parents. If you are thinking of divorce and there are children involved, The Law Offices of Rappleye & Rappleye can help. We have been representing clients in family law and divorce cases throughout Jackson Michigan and surrounding communities for over 60 years. When your parental rights or the safety of your children are on the line, you need an experienced attorney and our Family Law Firm can help guide you through the process. We handle a wide variety of cases including child custody, child support, father’s rights, alimony, property division, modification of court orders, separation agreements, and marital agreements. Call today for a consultation!