Change to Shared Custody & Child’s Wishes

From Maribel from Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough County

 

My 12 year old does not want to be with father for extended periods.

For the last 10 years his father has been absent 95 percent of the time.

My son is ok with visiting him for a day or two but refuses to spend a whole week or an entire summer with his father.

Does my son have a say in this case?

Answer

Is there a court order stating how the visitation schedule should be? If it is court ordered that he spend a specific amount of time with the father then you may want to file a modification of the Parenting Plan and visitation schedule. Keep in mind that this in turn may affect the child support. It sounds as if there may already be a lack of the father exercising his time sharing with your son. If you have kept a log or journal of this it will probably help you with your reason to modify. If your son refuses to spend time with his father then you may need to get someone else involved. The court avoids having children in the courtroom due to the stress that it may cause them. A Guardian Ad Litem can be assigned to speak with your son and then speak for him in court. Another possible option would be to request that your son testify on camera, or video, and then it be played for the judge to help him make a decision. The judge must approve this though, and since your son is only twelve, he or she may not because it might not be in his best interest. Additionally, you might want to have your son speak to a therapist or counselor. Just to be sure that the reason he is refusing to spend more than a day or two with his father isn’t because of some sort of abuse or neglect. A court appointed Guardian Ad Litem might ask for an evaluation anyway. 

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