This is the next post in my series on Florida children who refuse to have visitation with their parents. My last article discussed whether children can refuse parental visitation as an absolute right. While Courts may give older children discretion as to how their parental time will be scheduled, they still must spend the required time with their mom or dad. If they refuse to do so then the Court may reduce the amount of discretion given to the child. An attorney can help you take immediate action if you are in such a situation. In this article I will discuss instances in which a parent is coaching the child to deny visitation. If you are in need of assistance then contact my Melbourne area office today to speak with a lawyer.
Florida parents may lose custody if they coach their child to deny visitation
Florida Courts will change child custody if circumstances have changed since the last custodial order and the proposed change would be in the best interests of the child. If a parent has been coaching a child to deny visitation, since the last custodial order was entered, then the other parent may have a basis to modify custody. This is due to the fact that the Court would typically see such coaching as a sufficient change in circumstances. Moreover, whether a parent is encouraging a child to have a relationship with the other parent is one of the factors the Court considers when looking at a child’s “best interests.” It goes without saying that coaching a child to refuse visitation is the exact opposite of encouraging a meaningful relationship.
The first step in requesting a change of custody will be to file a Supplement Petition with the Court. This is a document which will state the reason for the request, the law supporting it, and it will include proposed evidence of the coaching. While explicit evidence of coaching may not be available, the Court will look at the totality of the circumstances. If it is shown, for example, that the child is showered with gifts when they refuse visitation then the Courts may see this as evidence of coaching. Also, in today’s era of email and text messaging, it may be possible to obtain correspondence showing that the offending parent is engaging in such conduct. What the Court will, and will not, consider sufficient evidence of coaching will always depend on the specifics of the case. Retaining an experienced attorney to assist you will be important to ensuring that you are presenting the right evidence to the Court.
Contact a Melbourne, FL attorney immediately if your child is being coached to refuse visitation
If the other parent is coaching the child to refuse visitation then it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you allow the situation to go on then the less likely the Court is to believe that you have been demanding your visitation, only to have it denied. The Judge may be less likely to make a change if he or she sees the current situation as a long-term status quo. By filing a Supplemental Petition as soon as possible you increase the chances of impressing upon the Court that the situation is serious. It must be remembered, however, that filing a request to change may also lead the Court to believe that there is no reason to take action. An example of this could include a parent who files a request the very first time that their teenager does not wish to go through with visitation.
If you are involved in a family law dispute then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody attorney. I practice solely in the area of domestic relations law and I realize the urgency of such situations. My office prides itself on providing the highest levels of service and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.