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Calling bullsh*t on custodial parents who let the children decide their visitation

When I first started practicing family law I would encounter a number of visitation enforcement hearings in which the custodial parent tried to excuse his or her failure to have the children visit with the other parent because “the children didn’t want to.”  Occasionally, and much to my frustration, the judges would sometimes accept this excuse and not find the custodial parent in contempt.  Early in my career I didn’t have an effective counter to these parents’ claims other than to hope the judge would enforce the order rather than buy the custodial parent’s excuse.  It has been my more recent experience that, absent evidence of abuse, the court doesn’t accept these excuses as frequently.

However, in the interim, I have developed what I believe is an effective cross examination technique for a custodial parent who testifies that he or she won’t force the children to visit the other parent because the children don’t want to.  I ask them what other things they expect their children to do that they don’t require them to do when they don’t want to.  Can the children refuse to do their chores/eat their vegetables/practice their violin/brush their teeth if they don’t want to?  Can their children drink bourbon for breakfast when they don’t want to drink milk?  Can their children have sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend when they don’t want to spend the afternoon studying?  Can their children go to the beach when they don’t want to go to school?

There’s a heck of a lot of things that parents force their children to do because they’re the parent and they decide what’s good for their child.  Visiting the non-custodial parent–assuming the child really doesn’t want to visit and also assuming there’s no abuse going on–is one of those things the courts should be forcing upon the children and custodial parent.  If the situation with the non-custodial parent gets bad enough, it should be the custodial parent’s obligation to seek an order reducing the other parent’s visitation, rather than simply denying visitation and expecting the court to not enforce its own orders.

Only one time in my career have I seen a child refuse to visit the non-custodial parent when the custodial parent supported the visitation and, in that case, the parties eventually agreed to forgo the non-custodial parent’s visitation when it became clear in (court-ordered) counseling why the child didn’t want to visit.  I was hoping that the courts were getting away from letting children, with the support of the custodial parent, decide their own (lack of) visitation and that the courts were gradually seeing that this unwillingness to visit was frequently tied to the custodial parent’s disregard for the other parent.  However, just today, I have discussed or been involved in three situations in which visitation has been denied because the custodial parent supported the child(ren)’s decision not to visit.  It may be time to dust off my “bourbon for breakfast” script.

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  • 1st Year Law Student

    Then I apologize. I was not aware it was Angela who said it.

  • james terzakos

    i have not seen my child since fall of 2014 when my ex refused to bring to visits or family therapy she tried to get a neglect case against me for smoking it lasted years but she lost after losing and visits were to start again she refused now saying my son didnt want to see me the court orderd phorensics for all of us and said it was parent alienation ,along with his mother being diagnosed with multiple personality dissorder and programming my son the dr testified at trial as well as the visiting coach who both said the child loves his father and has no fear of him but has been programmed very good by his mother the trial is over just was wondering what you think will happen im hoping i will get the full custody

  • Jane

    So physically forcing a child to do something that they find mentally or physically harmful is in their best interest?
    I used to beg not to have to see my dad (and especially his parents and family). Before my parents got divorced, my mom did all the child care with the help of her mother (who my dad HATED) and all the cleaning with the help of a housekeeper (who my dad constantly complained was too expensive) while working to make twice as much money. We had a massive three level, four bedroom house for a family of three, which my mom struggled to afford while my dad refused to move.
    After the divorce, EVERY time I saw him, he would talk bad about my mom, her mother, and her sister (my godmother). He also made fun of my uncle (a unionized oil refinery worker elected to a local town council as a democrat) whenever republicans ever had a win. He and his relatives ganged up on me with their right-wing (and extremely sexist and racist) views whenever I went over there so I wouldn’t end up “like the other side of the family.” And he made a huge production of trying to make me carry messages to my maternal relatives that he still liked and following them on Facebook.

    I developed a serious nervous system condition in my early teens. He refused to acknowledge it or ever ask me how I felt. When my symptoms prevented me from going out, I had to lie and say I caught a cold because that wasn’t good enough for him. He didn’t believe my illness was real until a coworker said his daughters also have it. I went to a Catholic high school before enrolling with an online academy junior year. What became EVERY time I saw him, my dad kept pressing me to go to the local public school (that he graduated from) for senior year, acting like this was already decided and never asking me what I wanted. It was massive and there’s no way I could have gotten around without a wheelchair, and I’d probably have gotten my college applications thrown out, going to 3 schools in 4 years.

    He moved in with his parents after my parents got divorced when I was 13 and didn’t move out almost until I left for college. There wasn’t room for another bed there, so they made sleep in my dad’s room rather than on their very comfortable couch like I wanted. My dad slept just in his underwear and refused to change the sheets, and he constantly complained about how uncomfortable the air mattress was. He absolutely threw a fit when I didn’t want to sleep there anymore.

    You get the picture. Now that I’m older, my mom has told me the only reason she didn’t divorce him sooner was that she couldn’t trust him to be alone with me when I was younger.

    Being forced to put up with that is just like being made to eat vegetables? Yeah right. Might I offer an alternative analogy? Imagine if today I said my boyfriend expected me to sit back and listen while he trash-talked the women who raised me, used his family to gang up on me about politics and every bad thing any democrat has ever done because of one pro-union relative, used my illness for sympathy from other people while never doing anything to help me with my illness or even asking me how I am, etc, etc. *Most* would tell me to never see him again, rightfully so. My dad and his dad would probably launch into rant about how stupid irresponsible I am, how it’s all my fault, and how women just sit and complain about men they take no action against.

    • Lynn

      Wow. Has your mother ever said why she married a man, and into a family, like this, and then had children with him? He must have had SOME redeeming qualities at some time.

      • Dee

        Lynn, you must have absolutely zero idea what a personality disorder can mask. Especially when that mask is worn in public. Their “redeeming qualities” are carefully constructed illusions for the self serving benefit of social status and admiration.

  • Angela Jones

    I find it odd how so many people believe that just because you married someone there had to be something good in them. Abusers are very good at picking out people they know they can manipulate. I I honestly have tried to figure out how I could help my marriage before it crumbled or how I could help my ex have a better relationship with his child. He refuses. Looking back now he would say one thing and do another constantly and I never thought he would do that do his child as well. I gave him the benefit of the doubt many times just as you are now. People change from when you first meet them and I think some people improve with age and others sometimes they are so broken that time is the only thing that shows what people truly are. These men or women choose people who are kind and always think the good in people. They do it on purpose because they know what they need to get what they want. I find it so odd how strangers will defend the abusers and give them the benefit of the doubt but the victims are to be questions and doubted so easily. I believe that is what the court system does as well and that is why so many victims, and yes we are victims, have this problem. We are taught so many worthless things in school yet how to identify abusers is not one of them. I sure wouldn’t have married mine and had a child with him if I knew he would do what he has. I’m educated and make 6 figures (I write this not to boost but to show it can happen to anyone) and I have been fooled not once but twice because I keep giving the benefit of doubt. If you don’t know people can do that and believe the good in people how would you know?

    • Dee

      You’re most likely wasting your breath. Unless someone has actually loved and lived with a person with narcissistic personality disorder, you’d have better luck talking to your alarm clock.

  • 1st Year Law Student

    Angela,

    I think the point Lynn was trying to make is that it takes two to make a child. Unless the woman was raped by someone who they weren’t dating, the woman must have seen a redeeming quality in the man from the beginning. When things turned sour remains to be seen.

    I

  • Courtney Lynn

    “…defending abusers…” You’re right. Alienated children are abuse victims also. And the court too often favors vindictive, lying, birth mothers, who use their children as pawns in their sick war games against their exes. Too many loving fathers (parents) are missing out on their children’s lives. Being a former alienated child myself and now the stepmother to an alienated child, I have seen it first hand!

    People in bad relationships tend to have strings of them. If you find yourself in a pattern of choosing abusers, please seek professional help or you will continue the cycle. And don’t bring innocent lives into your chaos until the cycle is broken!

  • Angela Jones

    Well since I have experience with both In my lifetime I should caution you to be careful throwing the “rape” word out there. I can tell you first hand both are painful but actually having a child with someone who is an abuser, from my view point is worse. One of the reasons I married my ex is because I was raped and I was very vulnerable and thought he would never hurt me. I don’t see why bringing that into a conversation is valid except for the shock value. To be honest I would rather be raped again then have to deal with my ex or watch what he is doing to my child. In some ways it is like being raped over and over without any hope until the child becomes of age it he loses interest. If I knew now what I knew then, I would have been artificially insemnation rather then put my child through what she is dealing with now. It again amazes be how the protection stays with the abusers and the victims can speak up but there is always someone who has to continue the beat down. You don’t want to learn anything just judge everyone with a different view then you do. Thank you for pointing my point. Do u even have kids?

  • 1st Year Law Student

    Angela,

    I hope you get the help you need. Certainly seems like you need it.

  • Angela Jones

    oh trust me I have gotten the help regarding falling for an abuser. However, I don’t think it’s my fault that he choose me and I truely did not realize what he was doing. If you don’t know people can be like that it is every hard to know they exist. I also hope that anyone thinks I would do parent alienation bc I haven’t. He can come anytime he likes but would rather tell my child he is coming and then not show up without telling her why. Is that parent alienation? He is making his choices yet everyone blames me of parent alienation, crazy. I don’t say anything to my child and let her make her own decision about her father is that parent alienation? There are two sides to everything and I just wish people would be willing to consider another persons situation and not assume that we our out to alienate the other parent.

    • Sarah

      Maybe you all need to understand the social dynamics of getting involved with someone who demonstrates characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder and/sociopathic tendencies. These people prey on I suspecting victims and tend to chose loving, kind and trusting partners. Abuse doesn’t happen right away. It can slowly creep up on you until your life resembles nothing what it once was. There seems to be so much blame for the woman in discussion for choosing a man who turned out to be a horrible, abusive husband. Why is she being blamed for being abused? I think we can do better then this. Many parents who claim parental alienation have completely alienated themselves by their own inappropriate behaviour. The kids simply don’t want to see their game playing, emotionally destructive parent who then cries aliencation to anyone who will listen. Of course, this isn’t always the case but let’s stop bashing women who have been abused for making a supposed poor choice and look at the man who is choosing to abuse his wife and children by proxy as the real villian in this scenario.

      • Lynn

        There are plenty of women who are abusive too; they’re more likely to abuse people who can’t get away from them, like children or dependent adults.

        There are also not a small number of people, usually but not always women, who do seek out no-good men because they think they can change them.

        • Kim

          Lynn, you are so correct. There are quite a few woman who abuse. It is much more prevalent than people realize. They get away with it by saying their latest whatever is “for the children”. They are actually lousy mothers as well as abusive mothers. It is awful to watch.

    • 1st Year Law Student

      Do you realize how many fathers who have fallen for the trap of “you can come here any time you want to see your kids” only to be accused of Domestic violence, get slapped with a protection order, and then having their rights taken away? If you aren’t telling him, to come to your place, instead of dropping the kids off at his place, there may be parental alienation going on.

  • Sarah

    Maybe you all need to understand the social dynamics of getting involved with someone who demonstrates characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder and/sociopathic tendencies. These people prey on I suspecting victims and tend to chose loving, kind and trusting partners. Abuse doesn’t happen right away. It can slowly creep up on you until your life resembles nothing what it once was. There seems to be so much blame for the woman in discussion for choosing a man who turned out to be a horrible, abusive husband. Why is she being blamed for being abused? I think we can do better then this. Many parents who claim parental alienation have completely alienated themselves by their own inappropriate behaviour. The kids simply don’t want to see their game playing, emotionally destructive parent who then cries aliencation to anyone who will listen. Of course, this isn’t always the case but let’s stop bashing women who have been abused for making a supposed poor choice and look at the man who is choosing to abuse his wife and children by proxy as the real villian in this scenario.

    • Lynn

      I can think of several women who divorced when their children were adults (or, for that matter, were widowed) and their kids had nothing to do with them afterwards. They always said things like “My ex-husband turned them against me” or “They liked him better because he didn’t discipline them” but it was quite obvious within about 30 seconds of the beginning of the conversation why the kids didn’t want to see her, and didn’t want their own children around her.

      Since this website IS mostly about women keeping the kids away from their ex-husbands, I do have a situation in my extended family where the kids, who are now adults, want nothing to do with their father OR anyone in his extended family; they don’t even hit him up for money and I’m actually surprised they haven’t changed their names. Nobody will tell me why, except that it’s for the best, and I probably don’t want to know what happened anyway because I know about some of the things SHE did during and after the divorce, and they were sickening.

    • Dee

      Mine was an actual diagnosed NPD and all personality testing came back with disturbing results. Still, all he had to say was it’s all my fault and scream “parental alienation” …wash, rinse, repeat. Very effective actually.

  • 1st Year Law Student

    Sarah,

    No one is blaming the woman for abuse. Get real! This is about having children with someone through consensual sex and limiting access to the children because of vindictiveness…. and quite often for a paycheck.

    It is interesting that 60+% of all documented child abuse claims are perpetrated by the biological mother yet generally they self victimize. Nearly half of all domestic violence is perpetrated by the wife, yet men have very little legal protections. And if you understand about narcissists and sociopaths, they tend to blame others for what they are doing themselves in an effect to mask their mental illness. Again, they are excellent at manipulation.

  • Angela Jones

    I believe you all are talking about a very small percentage and not seeing the bigger picture. Most custodial parents are not doing what u suggest and would love to have a great relationship with the noncustodial parent. Fighting to protect this small percentage you are speaking about eliminates the protection for the bigger percentage that needs that protection. Again, I say giving the benefit of the doubt to all including this small percentage is hurting the kids way more than helping the vast majority that need the helps from the court. I would never even think of the crap 1st year is taking about and I don’t think most parents would. If my ex was good to my child I would luv that because it is good for her to have her dad. Most parents want what is best for their child. Yet we are accusses of parent alienation or whatever bc people assume if there is an issue we are in that small percentage group. I think 1st year that you have twisted ideas maybe that is what happened to you not sure but WOW!

    • CAL

      Angela Jones,

      I have tried for the last few days to stay out of this conversation, but your comment this morning merited a retort.

      What Kim & Lynn have been saying is 100% correct, PA (Parental Alienation- the act of interfering with the relationship of a parent/child), PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome- the psychology of why a parent interferes with the relationship of a parent/child) or PI (Parental Interference- the legal term for one parent involving or interfering with the relationship of a parent/child) is more of the norm, whether intentional or unintentional.

      A study done by Newsweek in 2008 found that there are many attributing factors that lead to this and as a result is unhealthy for all involved, especially the children. According to the study divorces have become more ugly as a result of technology and has been the fetter for cases of alienation. What they found is that nearly 85% of all child custody goes to the mother. They also found that more than 71% of all non-custodial fathers see their children, as a result of the mother or the courts, less than once a week. as a result of the internet and technology women have been using information they find or arguments they create to manipulate the law under domestic violence creating a new level of abuse that is damaging both to the father as well as the child. As a result women obtain orders of protection under false premise due to a clause found in most OP laws throughout the country called the ‘fear of life’ or ‘stalking.’ These items need to be dismissed in a relationship if there is no evidence of criminal intent especially when children are involved and should be before a criminal court first before if can be consider in a family court with respects to visitation and women know this and take advantage of the situation and judges don’t care to invest the time.

      I know this to be true as I have lived it. My ex decided that life is about winning rather than the best interests of the child or what is right. As Lynn brought up, ‘women are abusers as well.’ They are and unless judges have the gumption to do what is right men are taken advantage of wrongfully each day and children are cheated out of the best of life set into a world of depression and chasing after things to fill the wholes and not letting either parent in to resolve the issues because they want nothing to do with their parent’s drama and are themselves on survival mode trying to get out. I have seen this in cases of kids who are now teens as well as adults who have dealt with the hell as well as other parents of PA who are beyond that period in life and had to reconstruct a life with their now adult children.

      As Kim said, “Children need both parents.” Alienation is not just something that a mother does but either custodial parent can be guilty of either intentionally (for selfish reasons) or unintentionally (because they are oblivious or don’t think they would ever do so). It is something that happens either as a degrading comment either to a child or in front of a child and can be as extreme as running half way across the country to find a judge to eliminate a parent from the relationship of a child. In my case it was the later and when I asked my ex what she wanted her comment was simple (and said to me several times)- “I want to destroy you!”

      Unfortunately if you do not understand this, you are clearly living in a bubble. Abuse is a bad thing and I feel for those who have truly been abused, but understand it is very difficult for one to have sympathy for one of abuse when the very law needed to protect them was used in a vindictive and false way to destroy the relationship of a parent and child and to do so only to destroy an ex-spouse.

      http://www.newsweek.com/divorce-new-rules-child-custody-83545

  • 1st Year Law Student

    CAL,

    You are absolutely right. However, it goes must deeper than this. Children are a profit center for the courts and for the State. Women get the child support, the State gets to process the child support for a price, the courts create orders that create conflict so there is repeat business. It is a vicious cycle.

  • Julie

    I happened across this site in a Google search and have to chime in. I don’t deny that there’s lots of women (just as men) who are manipulative and abusive. However, as someone who was with an extremely abusive and scary person, I can say that the exact reason so many women stay in these abusive relationships for so long is because of comments that are exactly like those on this thread. If you have really been abused, no one can blame you more than you blame yourself – so it’s a waste of your breath to chastise women for having stayed with an abusive man, or having had children with him. Once kids are involved you, as the abused, have two choices – risk you and their lives by leaving and possibly no one believing you and protecting you, or stay and try to do everything you can to avoid the violence. Both are very scary prospects. In the end, I chose leaving while my children were still babies – I decided I would rather he kill us then to have my kids repeat the cycle as either the abused or the abuser. He tried to kill us, and he went to jail for seven years. Now that he is out (and trying to get visitation), I don’t believe my children should have to pay for and be raised with an abusive, violent person because of my mistakes. Sure, I made an life-altering, horrific mistake for having been with him and staying with him (although abusers DO in fact prey on young, naive people who have had few relationships – which was me at the time – and then make you believe their abuse is because you are doing something wrong). But, the most important thing people should care about is that the kids shouldn’t have to suffer because of their parents mistakes. If you want to make the woman pay for having chosen the wrong partner to have kids with, I assure you, she’s already paying for it more than you could ever know. But, what everyone should be most concerned with is what is best for the children so patterns don’t keep being passed down over generations.

    • Kim

      Julie,
      As was stated earlier, this is a site about PAS type situations. Yours is not that. I am so sorry that you had to go through that.(and go through it)

      I am not referring to abused women, but women(and men) who keep children away from parents and claim abuse when it is not there.

      It is so detrimental to children to be kept from a non-abusive parent.

      NPD is a lot more dangerous than I ever thought.

      I hope your life has peace now.

      • Dee

        You need to look at the Saunders Study. In reality, 97% of allegations involving abuse are, in fact, TRUE. This means that only 3% are made maliciously and without merit.

    • Lynn

      I’m having a hard time believing that any court would allow a man who did 7 years for abusing his family to have visitation rights.

  • Angela Jones

    Julie,
    Your comments are very valid for this discussion and thank you for sharing. I think people need to be open to discussion that a lot of people mistake for PAS so that the discussion is not just certain people’s point of view. I hope you find peace and happiness.

    • Dee

      PAS was coined by the very disturbed, pro pedophilia, self published “dr” Richard Gardner, who thrust a steak knife into himself and rid the world of his damaging testimony in courts (always against moms). PAS is an abuser’s dream come true. If their children say the slightest negative comment about them, nobody cares about evidence, he just screams that the mom “alienated” them and voila! He gets custody and mom gets put on supervised visits for $120 for one hour per week. Yet, he and his family can call mom all kinds of names in the presence of the child and if mom says anything about it??? ALL LIES! There she goes “alienating” again. Children are committing suicide because of this garbage and nobody seems to care.
      Please visit http://www.safekidsinternational.org for more info.

  • Angela Jones

    Kim,
    A lot of people have expressed their opinions. Why do you single out Julie among all of us who have shared? Just curious.

  • 1st Year Law Student

    Lynn,

    Would you feel the same way if it was the woman who did 7 years?

    What about drugs? I’ve seen cases were a mother was an addict, got high in front of the kid, and was so messed up she attempted suicide on the living room floor… Also in front of the kid. She still got 50/50 custody.

    How about a case where the courts, CPS, and the GAL all knew the mother was on drugs and married a registered sex offender with no right of contact with children. She was friends with someone in CPS so she was protected for two years until a wellness check discovered the little girl all covered in rashes from playing on a carpet where their dog had been using for his bathroom.

    Courts often empower people to make poor parenting choices which effects the children.

  • Angela Jones

    As I waited for the judge to get to my case he actually allowed supervised visits to a man who raped a minor got her pregnant, served prison time for it. The child if I remember was not even two, i remember just being in shock that the judge would even entertain a custody hearing with this man.
    In my experience as As long as the parents say they want visitation the court allows it.

  • Angela Jones

    It might be supervised which I think makes the parent mad and act out more.

  • June Ybarbo

    Ok so I was married for 13 yrs. Almost getting a divorce. We have a biological daughter and a step daughter. Step is 16 and biological is 13. We have had a very toxic marriage. I literally walked on egg shell’s everday everyday was hell. The last year he started yelling at his step daughter every day nothing nice to say. I had had enough and told him so. Told him I wanted a divorce. I tried staying in the house with my kids. Tried kicking him out. And he wouldn’t stop yelling and cussing at me and my daughter. I moved out and both children were so happy I had finally stood up for myself. When I left I had 80$. I worked 80+ hours a week So I could get a place for me and my kids. It took 2 weeks and my youngest said she wanted to stay with her dad because she didn’t want him to be alone. She has not talked to me since. 2 weeks after i moved into my apartment he moved his girlfriend in with him and my daughter. The girlfriend is now 4 months pregnant and we have been seperated for 6 months. My daughter has told me she has a new mom now. She refuses to talk to me and says horrible things. In which my husband tells me I deserve it because I abandoned them. So my divorce hearing is in 10 days and now he is making her come every other week starting this Sunday. I am so confused on to why she didn’t want to see me in the first place. I have been reading a lot about parental alienation. Am I in the wrong here like he keeps saying or does it seem like this could be parental alienation? What can I do? I don’t have money for a lawyer and he is using her to get most of our assets. He told her I was taking everything from them and they were going to be homeless because I wanted to sell the house and split around 50,000.00 of profit we would get. I am letting him buy me out for 15,000.00. And letting him keep all of our stuff 2 motorcycles trailers lots of stuff. As long as custody is shared with me. Now that I agreed to his offer visitation finally will happen. Anyways sorry so long court is in 10 days and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    • Lynn

      There are always two sides to every story, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

      • June Ybarbo

        You would think so. But not in this case.

    • CAL

      June-

      It breaks my heart that you are going through this as it gives me flashbacks of what I had to deal with regarding my ex. First comment I will say to you is buckle up your seatbelt as he will take you for a ride through hell. If you have a dissolution hearing they will decide your assets and visitation.

      I don’t say what I am about to say as legal advice only by experience. FIRST you ARE experiencing PA but most don’t realize it until it becomes so ugly simply because you are trying to process everything. Yes you did the right thing by separating from a toxic relationship but made 2 serious mistakes that you will need to play aggressive with and fight back. The first was to leave the house. The second mistake was to leave your daughter with him. The combination makes it very easy to have you loose out on her and that relationship and allow him the advantage to make things worse between you and her.

      I will give you the Liam Neison “Taken” response.
      – You will go to court and the judge will NOT make him sell the house but have him give you a settlement.
      – You will loose custody of your daughter as the judge will say that because he has the house, the interest of the child comes first and since she has an established school and friends he/she will grant custody to him.
      – Unless you fight for the assets to be evenly split, including liquidating motorcycles, vehicles and property you WILL loose out on even more.
      -He will hit you will child support and depending on the state it could be either just you net income or the net income of by you and him times about 28% (and if joint income it is multiplied by the percentage of time you DON’T have with your child being your responsibility).
      – The judge will give you joint custody, but it is likely that in the next couple years the judge will likely eliminate all of your visitation and will likely effect your child support.
      _ You will NOT have the child tax credit and may be responsible for all of her medical expenses and extra curricular expenses where he will likely involved her in several things just to spite you.

      So with this being your reality, what do you do? I would suggest you see if you qualify for legal aid and try to get a lawyer through that route.

      Second come up with both a parenting plan and file it with the court and have it served on the other party. This is done through a motion filing as well as a notice of service. Talk to the clerk of court to see if they have forms, but don’t file this on your own if you have an attorney.

      Next make sure you have a fully detailed list of ALL assets including the house, vehicles, personal assets and money and retirement accounts as you should be entitled to half of everything. If you don’t have this list and he does, but leaves out items a judge is likely not going to give you parts of those assets. If he sells something prior to court, he will have to answer to that. If there are vehicles I would pull up a NADA of Kelly Blue Book valuation to take to court. This would be the same with the house which you can obtain through Zillow or Redfin.

      NOW the harder thing, your daughter. Seeing she is 13 the judge may suggest she testify who she wants to live with. BE CAREFUL OF THIS as it normally backfires and you immediate go from just loosing your child and having 50/50 visitation to restricted visitation as your starting point. You will need to defend the need for your active role in her life and interject the importance of the girls being together and having at least constant access as a result of it being detrimental for both children and at the end of the day it is the best interest.

      It is likely he will obtain custody and make hell on earth for everyone and require you to find a healthy way to deal with the ugly ride ahead. PLEASE, I cannot stress this enough, find a good support group that you can have a couple people to meet with in person to help you through this process. Take care of yourself because the girls will be looking for the parent who is the most emotionally stable because they will be going through a lot themselves and may not discuss it in full simply because they will not be able to vocalize it. If I am correct your 13 y.o., by the time she is 16, will feel emotionally abandoned by your husband as the new baby will take presidence and will be looking to come back to you for the stability and why you need to stabilize yourself.

      I hope this helps. I am sorry to bring this to you in the real terms.

      • June Ybarbo

        Thank you For your feedback. I don’t have money for lawyers. I finally get her for a week tomorrow. I am not fighting him on anything I am just letting him have it all. He has agreed to give me 15,000.00 which is considerably less then what are assets all together are worth. And still I am very selfish for even wanting this he says. I can’t afford a lawyer so this is the only way I could get time with my daughter. And hope that she won’t be angry at me anymore for trying to take everything from them. And I agree the 2 biggest mistakes I made was leaving the house and leaving her there. He refused to leave and I really was so depressed I couldn’t stay any longer.

      • Lynn

        Several posts ago, I mentioned some relatives where the now-grown kids want nothing to do with their father, and the mother did some terrible things.

        One of the terrible things she did was constantly take the kids to doctors, so he would be soaked with medical expenses. She also got kicked out of multiple therapists’ offices for saying things like “Now, tell the nice counselor how much you hate Daddy” and was going to play the sexual abuse card, which the kids refused to go along with because he hadn’t done it.

        Yep, they’re right. I probably don’t want to know what he did (or didn’t do, as the case may be).

    • Kim

      I am so sorry. Unless a person is an abuser, no one should be denied visitation from a child. At 13 a child can be very self centered and will chose the house where they get the most, if they think they can keep the peace, or both. PAS is so toxic. The parent causing it is very crafty and has one goal in mind. My youngest stepdaughter answered when asked if she was feeling pressured to stay at her mother’s all the time like her sister, “no, they just tell me all the time they want to be with me all the time. It’s not mean against dad, it is said in a loving way”.
      What child wouldn’t feel pressured when constantly told “but we want to be with you ALL the time”? She didn’t even see it as that. That is how they do it.
      Since you asked….focus on you and being the best you can be for your kids. God willing she will come around, but if not all you can do is your best. I, also, had some counseling to help with someone like that.

  • Angela Jones

    Hi there and I am so sorry you and your children are going through this. I have a feeling you soon to be ex is doing parent alienation and his lawyer has told him that he better allow visitation or else you would be able to claim it. I wouldn’t have agreed to everything u have agreed to because you have two kids not just one and both your kids and yourself will need money. Not having a lawyer is a very big risk and be prepared to get ran over in court. The child is old enough to start making choices and hopefully she will be able to stand up for what she wants instead of doing everything her father says. I would ask her on one of her Sunday visits (maybe just the two of you) what if anything would make this easier on her. Really listen to her, don’t cut her off and just let her get it out and just remain calm. Do that a couple of times or as long as she needs and she will come around. Kids need to feel listen to so they can heal, just like adults. It’s amazing how they can bounce back and forgive when they believe they are being heard. Good luck to u. :(

  • Jason

    Hello,
    My children have been visiting there mother since July 5th of this year. I have not had any issues with this but now know that she is pregnant with this man’s child. I have spoken to my daughter and son and both of them love their mother but hate the man she is with. They don’t like him trying to be their father and they don’t like his attitude and many other things. We have 50/50 custody and I would like to know how to help this. I don’t want to force them to go but they just don’t want to be around this man.

    • Kim

      Obviously it is your choice, but they will come in contact with many people they(and you) don’t like. If you can I would speak gently with my ex about this. (if the kids feel they can’t) If there is mistreatment that is always different, but we are giving our kids today( I teach) the mistaken impression they don’t have to deal with people they don’t like. It all depends on the individual situation.
      My ex had multiple women in his life(and my children’s lives) and my “boys” are healthy adults with good relationships(an engineer and the youngest with his masters in International affairs). They have both travelled to other continents. It wasn’t easy at times, but we talked through stuff that bothered them and they, at times, saw a counselor.
      They love their dad for who he is and have good relationships with us both.(and love me for my flaws too)
      Best of luck….being a parent is so hard.

      • CAL

        Excellent advice Kim! The truth is you want to instill into your kids the skill of problem solving. As Kim said if the two of you are on good terms it makes it much easier to instill that in your kids. There are only a few times that this requires you to step in and run screen but that all comes at a cost; abuse, neglect or unreasonable deficience of an ex. It is likely that her new guy will reject the kids after the baby is born and will create a new set of feels of rejection by the kids.

        You are in a training process for your kid’s future social skills. Your goal is to give them the navigation skills with people they may not like or agree with and being successful will go a long way.

    • Have you considered filing a new case to change the 50/50 custody?

    • Gene Rivers

      Depending how old the children are you can request a lincoln hearing…..its to have the judge speak to the children about visiting their moms house….if hes not letting them stay up late or eat ice cream for breakfast youll be wasting your time…..if hes mean to them file a modification of the current court order and his abusive attitude around the children should satisfy the change in circumstances that youll need to be granted a modification….you cant ask for a lincoln hearing till your back in court…..speak to your children about why they dont like him and if hes married to their mother it will be more difficult cause their related by blood or marriage so technically he has legal say…..

  • 1st Year Law Student

    Kim,

    I disagree with your assessment. Where there is smoke, there is fire. The kids are raising concerns about their relationship. Since the woman has elected to have a baby with this man, she is looking at creating a new family. The kids has more than likely already addressed their concerns to the mother, and the mother would have responded with the a-typical, “I’m your mom. I know what’s best for you. You have to accept this guy in your life.” Actually, the kids don’t have the accept him. They have their own mind and their own opinions. Forcing children to have a step father is not about the best interest of the child, but about the self serving interest of the mother. We have to remember, every decision a person makes effects the people around them, especially their own minor children.

    Now, if they like the guy, but the father is feeling emasculated by the thought of another man parenting his children, then that is another story. Children, most of all, need stability. Having too much or too many changes in their lives can cause a lot of problems.

    CAL,

    Instill problem solving skills? Most adults lack these skills, and I don’t know of any children under 14 that can adequately handle this sort of problem when you have a parent forcing contact between the new boyfriend and the kids. They have no power to solve the problem.

    Parenting is easy…. showing up is half the battle. The other half is composed of self respect, listening, and empathy.

    • CAL

      1st timer, let me respond to you with a question, as it will prove my point and validity to your descent to both myself and Kim’s comment.

      Are you a parent and are you speaking from the angle of an attorney or a parent or a parent wronged?

      Just because you see smoke doesn’t always mean there is a fire. I will break it down on some simple things in technology to prove my point. Does a vape create a fire to discharge smoke? Does a humidifier create smoke via a fire? So if these things create smoke without a fire how is it that if there is a problem or a misunderstand can you interpret it a solely a ‘real problem?’ There may be more to the story as age of the child and them trying to find their place in life. It could be that they have tried to manipulate a situation and seeing they didn’t get their way they paint someone in a bad light. Not just because a child says that someone is bad constitutes to the person being bad. Sometimes they may be and it is why coparenting and communication is necessary and it is why you allow for kids to fight some of their own battles and NOT always get involved. This is something called conflict resolution and parents, just like children, must understand when and when not to get involved with the drama of a child. This would be understood by a parent, especially one with teenagers as they try breaking out and testing the waters at about 12 or 13 and it only gets more difficult.

      • 1st Year Law Student

        CAL,

        Your analogy falls flats. Neither Vape nor humidifiers have smoke.

        I am speaking from the angle of children’s rights, which are often overlooked. Children are human with human emotions and are not property of the parents. Parent vs Child… A child won’t win this battle because of the lack of power they have. You are conflating peer problem solving with problems created by the parent or parents.

        • CAL

          1st Year, you have just proven my point that you ARE NOT a parent and are only speaking from an angle of an attorney (inexperienced). You want to claim that a child can make decisions on their own but the reality is that is a graduated thing which children learn over time. To expect that a child has the capacity to make cognitive decisions shows your lack of the development and psychosis of a child. Stop talking like you have an understanding of what each child may need when you attempt to shoehorn every situation and child into the same mould simply because you are looking from a narrow minded angle according to a law.

          The reality is your debate runs flat as well seeing that each state has rules in determination of visitation and custody and is subject to the state laws as laid out under UCCJEA law. Most states laws very clearly state that a child does not have the decision power to decide if they will visit with a noncustodial parent like Florida or NY while other states will allow for decisions to be made by a child once they reach 16 years old.

          What you clearly missed in the original post was 2 things.
          – ‘We have 50/50 parenting.’
          – ‘We have been amicable, but now the kids are uncomfortable with her boyfriend.’

          These 2 factors are very important as, unlike Greg stated and should have asked a different question (do you think you two can work things out on the behalf of the children), because it shows that there is no reason to jump to legal action or belligerence to a current agreement. If you do preempt this you agitate the situation that only benefits the attorney.

          So if any attorney thinks that they are looking out for the best interest of a child by suggesting to take it to court rather than try to work things out is an insult to the best interest of a child. Legal recourse should ALWAYS be the last resort. This poster seems like he can resolve the problem and yes there may be an issue down the road but to use an aggressive response (or ignorance on your behalf) would create more harm than good for the child.

          • 1st Year Law Student

            CAL,

            Are you finished ranting?

            Do not assume that my perspective is that of an attorney or following the law. I never used legal terms. In fact, my belief is that the law is wrong. The tender years doctrine was wrong, the orphan train was wrong, and the best interest of the child is often abused by the courts to award custody to the mother.

            Almost any psychologist will tell you that if tell your child that they must interact with the parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend under threat of punishment, it is harmful to the child and a violation of the child’s self automony.

            In theory, the other parent could report that as child maltreatment and have it investigated.

            I also disagree on your assertion that children can’t decide. Ask a police officer if they are allowed to enforce a custody order and make a non- willing child go with the other parent.

            Age does come into effect. Small children of course can’t make decisions on visitation. But if parental alienation doesn’t exist, and the child is old enough to make a reasonable argument as to why they shouldn’t see the other parent, the child’s voice should be heard. In the alternative, there is generally a mental health decline, kids get involved with drugs, and being promiscuous.

            Each family situation is different. The poster said they were amicable. This doesn’t mean they don’t disagree on what the best interest of the children are. It just means they have probably bit their tongues a few times because the kids didn’t have an issue before. If the issue is something that he knows his ex won’t budge on legal recourse is the only option.

  • Angela jones

    So let me get this straight. They HAVE to visit their noncustodial parent even when they don’t want to buy get to choose to have a relationship with their step parent in which in most cases the child sees more? Talk about confusion and hypercritical.

  • CAL

    1st Year-
    Yes sorry for the rant but understand when I see poor advice it needs to be thwarted. The best interest argument is certainly NOT something in the benefit of a child and is abused on a continuous basis. When I hear anyone use that argument I will push back as it is a legal excuse for attorneys to take advantage of the situation under the guys of a child.

    I DON’T disagree with your assessment about ‘forcing’ a child to have a relationship with a parent’s significant other and it is something that both parents if possible need to talk about and see how to resolve the issue for the child’s best interest. At the same time it requires that the child must show respect to an adult and not use phrases like ‘your not my dad’, ‘my dad says that I don’t have to listen to you” or any other thing as it agitates the situation further. When someone with kids gets a divorce it is VERY likely that there is a lot of tongue biting or full out judicial throw down, guarantee.

    With that said it is never in the best interest to create battle lines and slam things into court as it creates for more issues for the children. When someone uses the court as the first course of action, look out as things will get VERY ugly.

    Yes each case is based individually as the development of children come at different stages and time. As children do not have the ability to see a broad perspective to weigh out cause and effect until about 21-23, and is necessary for a parent to intervene in most cases. This doesn’t require a parent to helicopter everything they do as when a child gets older a parent needs to dial it back. Unfortunately the courts think there is a once size that fits all and the development for all children are the same failing children each day. It is for this reason that a court should not get involved unless there is proof of physical or sexual abuse or neglect. To often children are pressured for loyalism and are willing to sell out one parent over the other and both custodial and noncustodial parents should be aware and NOT play that game because in the end the child looses.

  • rogue

    So, I have a question regarding this scenario. I’ll try to keep it short, please feel welcome to ask questions.

    My ex husband last saw our children in 2012 (1 visit), I recently renewed an RTO for an additional 5 years (which does not affect visitation which is supervised through a third party institution, they record all visits and communication). He has mentioned in court recently that he intends to schedule visits. My concern is this is retaliation, had it not been for my request he would not have bothered to look the boys up. Do they have any rights in this situation? They ARE encouraged, supported and loved but I can’t make them do anything. Especially when I believe it is not in their best interest. (there are a too many details to include at once, please ask.)

  • Janie Hall

    My parents divorced when I was 13. My dad had basically ignored me my entire life, so when I learned that my parents were getting divorced, I thought it was the BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME. I overlooked the part where now I actually have to spend time with him.

    He was going to fight for custody, so her team told his team that if they let her have full custody without a fight, they wouldn’t get the therapist involved and fight for supervised or no visitation. Of course they gave in.

    My father is an incredibly selfish man. It was my mother’s job to cook, clean, take care of me, and earn the money. From the time I could talk, he mocked me until I cried whenever I said I wanted mom. Only he could think that “we can’t afford to send our kid to Disney every year” means that he should go to Disney without his kid every single year. I spend my younger years begging him to go to church with us, but he didn’t, not when I was in the children’s choir, not when I played flute, not on Christmas many years. But when my mom filed for divorce, suddenly he was a Christian and divorce was always wrong, and the divorce was so hard on me, yada, yada, yada. When he was court ordered to move out, he tried to stall by saying he had cancer and screamed at me for ten minutes strait about what a witch my mom was for changing the locks. And all of a sudden, he wants to be the parent, and being anything but the perfect daughter would lead to him insisting my mother take away my music lessons, my time with my friends, the private high school I wanted to go to – and later – the school I currently attended and my dream of going away to college.

    There was not one visit that I ever wanted to go on. He has quite the rage and threatened to kill me more times than I can count. I could not stand up to him on my own, and though my mom is wonderful, she did not have my back on this. She forced me to go, and once I was alone with him, I fearfully agreed with everything he said. I could not bring myself to tell him off for the way he talked about my mom and her family. I knew I had to hug my mom before I opened the front door and not wave to her where he could see if I did not want him to blow up at me in the car. And his family (who I didn’t interact with much until the divorce) was absolutely awful. The men would go on about how if a girl didn’t cover up, she was asking to be raped and shouldn’t be allowed an abortion, and then my grandma and aunt would try to force me into more revealing bathing suits and clothes, so I spend my teen years constantly worried that I would be raped. I had a plan and everything to be able to get an abortion without telling anyone if I needed to (because getting pregnant was one of the things my dad threatened to killl me for).

    Whenever he was busy, I might nit see him for weeks, but he never took no for an answer from me. Freshman year, I fell ill and was constantly exhausted, dizzy, vomiting, short of breath, in pain over my entire body, and having heart palpitations. I lived like this for a year until my mom took me to Mayo Clinic, which my dad will still insist I didn’t need. I was diagnosed with POTS, a chronic condition that does not just go away and has a whole list of symptoms ranging from quirky to hell, but that wasn’t good enough for my dad. Whener I told him that I didn’t feel well or was too sick to go, the next time I saw him, he made a big production of asking me who I caught a cold from.

    Now, I do not care about my relationship with my dad because I have never had one and never will. However, this drove a huge wedge between my mom and I. Throughout my teen years, this was nearly the only thing we fougt about. As I constantly reminded her: I still had to deal with him, and she didn’t. My mom and dad would sometimes text, and I did everything I could to get her to stop so he wouldn’t blow up at me over something she said. But if she wasn’t texting him, he’d get mad about that. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over her not fighting for supervised visitation. How little she said negative about him irked me to no end because he said things 10x worse every visit about her. At the end of the day though, I know my mom loves me and my dad doesn’t; that’s the difference. I know she thought she was doing what was best for me, but my dad only wanted what was best for himself and does not love me. I fail to see why that is so hard to understand and contact him as little as possible.

  • Deanna Lopresti

    What about when the child takes off when you say you are taking them. There have been alligetation of abuse

  • Jon Ryder

    Reading the comments below it’s no wonder kids are so screwed up today. Even worse, the whole tragedy has been turned into a major cash cow industry.

    • Erica R

      I agree! “I don’t force my kid to do what he don’t want to do!” Really? Kids need to learn boundaries, it makes them secure, self reliant adults one day. My step son prefers moms house and would rather be there with all the candy, junk food, video games and extra money she has from her new husband. There’s no real rules there and he gets here where his dad is a teacher and I run a daycare. We have one 32 inch tv and we don’t keep soda and junk in the house and he has chores. But we try to show him how to have fun not staring at a screen. Still, he’s 10. What do you think he’ll choose?! It’s good to give choices to kids- like what they can help make for dinner, what clothes they want to wear, etc. but giving them the choice on where to live (barring there’s no abuse of course) is ridiculous. No wonder kids are such entitled brats with no sense of boundaries nowadays

      • Carol Penquite

        Every child deserves one home…one place of security….being shipped back and forth like furniture is abusive. Yes … a child is a commitment. Sorry if you just aren’t happy. Get over it and raise your kids.

  • Mrs. Lady Scorpio

    My 9 year old told me he don’t want to see his dad like that, even though i have sole legal and physical custody of mines. I will not force my child to be there if he don’t want to. Next time before doing the crime think of your children then this will not be a problem. Never force a child to do what they don’t wanna do period

  • Janie Hall

    Mr. Forman, you act like this is some new magical idea that we have never heard before.

    My parents divorced when I was 13, and my mom got full custody. There was NEVER a single visit I wanted to go on, but nobody gave a flying rat’s behind. My dad and I virtually never interacted before the divorce. He would come home from work, go to the basement, and that would be all I saw of him.

    He never went to church with us, but when my mom filed for divorce, suddenly he’s a conservative Christian and she’s going to hell for divorcing him. He threatened to kill me on multiple occasions and has a rage like you wouldn’t believe. He talked bad about my mom, her mom, her sister, and at least one of her four brothers every single visit, yet he expected me to carry messages to relatives of hers that he liked. His family would make it known how much they hated my mother, then call me by her name all the time. He is 300 pounds but commented on my weight every visit and wanted to know why I wasn’t losing a pound a day. I developed a serious chronic illness, and he still insists that I am not really sick. He could not care less that I could not breathe or stand or digest food without these medications. And whenever I would cancel a visit because I didn’t feel well enough to go, he made a huge production about asking me what I caught and who from. He would throw a fit whenever he saw me hug or wave to my mother. He and his family would make fun of my religious upbringing and modest dress. He was constantly asking me – his teenage daughter – if I wanted to go to Hooters, and he and his family made it clear that they had no respect for women and no care about violence against us. He was constantly referring to my friends with archaic and offensive racial terms. He was extremely possessive and jealous. He heard from my cousin that I had a crush and told my mom that we were dating to try to get me in trouble, and he and his family tormented me for months because there was one boy in my flute section that I became friends with.

    I could go on for days, but you get the picture. Any time I got upset with him for any of these things, he would turn it around that I hurt his feelings.

    Now, my mom refuses to have any kind of substantive negative conversation about him, even when it is entirely based in fact, so who am I supposed to tell these things to?

    Now I am 17 and refusing to go, no matter what either of them say. My mom said I could talk to a councelor about this but
    has not set that up yet. As I said, my father is extremely rageful and possessive, so I am genuinely afraid even though I have not heard from him recently. I am scared that he will try to hurt my mom or me, but she does not want to hear about these things.
    That’s not doing what’s best for your child. That’s putting the ex you divorced over your child.

  • Janie Hall

    My parents divorced when I was 13, and there was no single visitation I wanted to go on. NONE. My father and I hardly saw each other before the divorce. He would come home from work, go down to the basement, and that was it. My mom did all the cleaning, cooking, childcare, and landscaping while making twice as much money as him. Of course he complained about how she did it. He never attended my events or went to church with us. My mom gave me a traditional Catholic upbringing as much as possible without his help.

    He has a rage like you wouldn’t believe and threatened to kill me on multiple occasions. He talked horribly about my mother and her entire family every single visit, and I knew better than to set him off by defending them or hugging/waving goodbye to my mother in his presence. I developed a serious chronic illness, and I knew better than to set him off by defending myself when he insisted that it was not real and did not require treatment. I knew better than to say anything when he ranted about how crazy and awful women are and constantly asks me if I want to go to Hooters. I knew better than to say anything when he referred to my friends with offensive racial terms and then wondered why I wouldn’t invite them over. I knew better than to set him off by pointing out that he has a BMI of about 40 while mine is 28, and he wants to know my I’m not losing a pound a day. His whole family is either giving me the silent treatment while I’m there or making fun of my religious upbringing and choice of dress. He is extremely jealous and possessive, trying to get me in trouble with my mom when he heard from my cousin that I had a crush. He and his family tormented me for weeks because there was one boy in my flute section that I had grown a friendship with. He screams at me, holding me responsible for everything my mother had done. His family makes it known how much they hate her but call me by her name all the time. Now he is trying to stop me from going away to college like I’ve dreamed since I was a little girl.

    I could go on all day, but you get the picture. However, my mother does not. How am I supposed to explain these things to her when she refuses to have the smallest negative conversation about him, even when it’s entirely based in fact? Whenever I did manage to get something out, she just had to confront him and make everything word for me. Her entire family refuses to say the tiniest negative thing about him, which is extremely irksome when he rants about them every visit. Now I am 17 and refusing to go, no matter what either of my parents say. My mom thinks she took me out of a toxic situation, but she didn’t. She just left me to deal with it on my own and is still putting him over me. As I said, my father is very rage-filled and possessive, so I am genuinely afraid for my safety and my mother’s. After being the subject of his rage for years, she is still naive enough to think that he would treat his daughter any differently, so clearly he has her in the palm of his hand.

  • Dee

    Yeah… soooooo… when one parent has had boundary issues for over a decade, which was even documented by a therapist which he selected to “deprogram the child due to alienation by the mother”… he saw this therapist alone with the child for a period of 2 and one half years, while mom remained in the background to allow for them to try to establish a bond. The dad failed three personality tests during a custody eval and when he retook them, the results were that he suffers from “unusual beliefs” and is “nervous and depressed to the point that improvement would be desirable” and mom’s results were all how warm, affectionate, empathetic, logical, solution oriented, etc… yet mom was the one forced into counseling due to supposed “alienation”.

    Fast forward nine years from custody eval and minor is now a 16 year old with more than 30 college credits. She still complains that there are serious boundary issues, such as dad picking her bedroom door locks at night and walking in, staring down at her while she pretends to be sleeping. Attempts to access the shower while she is using it and the house is such complete filth that the minor has refused to even shower anymore. There are live bugs crawling in her bed; dad noses through anything and everything in her room the minute she leaves the room to use the bathroom; if she speaks with anyone at school, he is sitting in the parking lot watching and gives the third degree as soon as she gets in the car. He chaperoned EVERY field trip, attended EVERY school event (even the ones parents were asked not to); had to sit right next to her during every girl scout meeting; attempts to arrange friendships with girls that don’t even like her; hacks into her social media and puts keyloggers on her laptop. He also applied to teach at the college she was accepted at THE SAME SEMESTER she was accepted and at the same campus. He further declared he would also apply to the university she plans to transfer to.
    She tried for over a year in therapy to work on the things that bothered her about him but all he does is deny and blame the mom for “brainwashing” again. He refuses to validate anything she says. When she continued to try to address the very real issues, he simply stopped attending the therapy sessions for about 15 months. She tried once more and he again denied, so she gave up and no longer wants to see him.
    Sooooooo…. I guess I should just grab her by the arms and legs and jam her into the car and force her into his filthy house (which is always spotless when his mom comes for a visit once a year!)… because this would be “in her best interests”?
    Y’all militant father’s rights folks are causing children to commit suicide. Mine almost did at the age of 8 because nobody believed her and she continued to be forced to go. She has shut down entirely and I can’t even hug her anymore because she recoils at being touched! Yeah… great job there, protecting those poor dads that are sooooo abused by mean, vindictive and “alienating” women!

  • Brandallynn Hetrick

    So I live in Illinois and have supervised visits my oldest will be 15 in September and on Christmas day I was suppose to have all three of my kids but instead only two of my kids came but my oldest sent a note saying he wasn’t coming to visits anymore and so I haven’t seen him since december, is that allowed for a child to say he dont want to so they dont make him, doesn’t that make the custodial parent and the supervisor in contempt of court

    • Gene Rivers

      In new york a child that age has a say because he is more aware of his feelings and cognitive as to why he/she dont wanna visit that parent anymore…..still….at the end of the day the judge weighs the totality of the circumstances and makes the final decision…..

  • Data

    Hello,

    I CAN easily EXPLAIN to my 10 years old daughter WHY she has to do her chores/eat her vegetables/practice her violin/brush her teeth if she doesn’t want to.

    I CAN easily EXPLAIN to her WHY she can not drink bourbon for breakfast when she doesn’t want to drink milk.

    I’m sure that I will have NO PROBLEM EXPLAINING why she should not have sex with her boyfriend when she will not want to spend the afternoon studying.

    I CAN easily EXPLAIN to her WHY not to go to the beach when she doesn’t want to go to school.

    BUT, and this is a huge but:

    For the life of me, I can NOT EXPLAIN to her WHY she should go to visit my ex wife, when she does not want to. My daughter made a clear decision that she does not want to keep in touch with her mom and communicated it multiple times backed up with reasons.

    So, when you get a chance, please explain to me the reason WHY should I force her to go?

    Please don’t give me statistics, hypotheticals and “in generals”, but instead be specific to address the question: WHY should I force her?

    • Because you can go to jail for not following a court order?

    • Charlie Sobakin

      Comparing doing illegal things to making a decision about parenting time is ridiculous. Can you also make your child to have for a friend the person you chose for him/her? There are lots of things that are simply not enforceable.

      • But a family court visitation order is enforceable and you can go to jail for not obeying it.

      • Data

        Exactly my point.

        Blindly enforcing a relationship will only cause more harm than good.

    • rob brown

      Well if there is a court order, you explain that there is a court order.

      So she doesn’t understand that? Well, teach her about the law. Otherwise, I don’t think there is a requirement that a child understand reasons that they have to do something.

      • Data

        She is perfectly aware of the meaning of “shared custody”. Yet still, despite that she is refusing to see her mother, because that’s how she feels.

        She has been hurt by the mother’s behavior during the years, and as a result she is making a conscious decision, not to see her.

        My question was WHY should I force her to abandon her feelings and go to see her mother, when this will clearly make her more hurt.

        So, please the question is still the same: WHY should I force her?

        • rob brown

          It’s not you that is forcing her, really, it is the court order. If you violate the court order, you get in a lot of trouble.

          I imagine you disagree with the court order. And that can suck, but….it isn’t really an option to simply not comply with it. The only option is to use the court system to get the order changed.

          • Rebecca Ragsdale

            Well I have joint custody with non custodial parent and he has not been in my daughter’s life for 7 years. She is 13 now. I am going back to court for sole physical legal custody. But my daughter made it clear that she wants nothing to do with him and that her step dad has raised her since she was 2. What should I do?

    • Sarah

      Because YOU are the problem.

  • Liza Fischer

    What if that said parent makes little effort to develop a relationship with said child and it is more for show that they so-called ‘want’ to see their child one week of every holiday period? No phone calls during term, no letters. Even passing through your hometown (which is 2.5 hours away from theirs) and not bothering to call in?… i call bullshit on your article! Every situation is different!

    • rob brown

      Then you convince the court of that.

      If the court is making the wrong decision, well, that’s a problem, but the solution isn’t just to ignore what the court says.

  • Tina Palomares

    My husband haven’t seen his daughters for 7 years from his other relationship. He was in incarcerated and when he got out they they made it very hard for him to see them. When the grandma started calling the cops he stood away because he didn’t want to get put back in jail. Long story short, when him and I started planning our wedding we received child support papers. Not a problem, we decided okay this is a chance to see the girls. WRONG. she filed for custody and we fought for visitation. We were ordered counseling for him and the girls. 1st one went good so did the 2nd and 3rd. And The girls were asked ” do you want to see your dad and get to know him?” they both said yes.After the 4th visit the mom through a little tantrum because we only had 2 more sessions then we would get regular visitations. She called the counselor a week later and said that the kids no longer want to see him… the counselor wanted to hear it from the kids them self so a week later they called and told the counselor. So now we have no more counseling. Keep in mind she said this at the first hearing and the girls said different at the counseling session. What are our chances of getting visitations. Keep in mind prior to the split he was a great father the ex admitted there was no kind of abuse to her or the kids during their relationship and that he was a great provider.

  • Wendy

    Obviously Mr Forman has no children. Comparing a child’s fear to eating vegetables… Really??!! Would you make the same comparisons if this was your own child?? If you have no actual experience or understanding, stop writing these blogs. People who have not lived thru this type of situation and no clue what it can mentally do to a child is the very reason why the decisions of family court so often fail families. The more uneducated (that’s life education,, not university education) decisions forced on families by family courts are in line with increased mental health issues and child/teen suicide…. FACT cannot be argued with.
    A little advise…. put the text book down and look at the children.

  • Suzann Corl

    Thank you for this amazing blog! I see my 8 year old three times a week, but my other three wont come out when i pick him up.I haven’t seen my 11 year old daughter since i moved out 8 months ago because she is mad at me. The two teenagers haven’t seen me in months. I spent every day of their lives as their primary caregiver and homeschooled them too since preschool! But there dad is a jerk and doesn’t make them visit me!!

    • Ranowa

      Speaking from the other side (I was once the child in this scenario)… do you think your children will really reconnect with you if they’re being forced to visit you? If you someone you were angry at or hurt by literally forced you, kicking and screaming, to spend time with them, would you be eager to start up a relationship again, or just want to get the hell away as fast as possible? I know when my mother did it to me, I pushed back, hard, and didn’t stop pushing until she stopped forcing me.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes a situation is impossible and the only solution is to walk away. I love my children greatly but it is a choice I made a little over a month ago. My oldest son has severe Autism with an intellectual disability. He does not talk, he cannot keep himself safe, he cannot be alone at all. He cant do the most basic functions, so he requires 24 hour care, which his mother and adult half siblings give him. The last 18 months he has become violent at times. My youngest son and I had a close relationship and even did well the first year or two after his mother and I split up. But she is very toxic, obsessively toxic. I spent $20k on an attorney during the first round of her games, whilst she acted pro-se. The last couple of rounds I was forced to represent myself.

    She spent the last few years, along with her adult children from a previous relationship, poisoning my youngest son against me. My oldest son, he cant understand so he’ll always love me regardless. So my youngest son has bought into her toxicity hook line and sinker. After interviewing the child the judge told the mother that he has no doubt that the son has been total and completely alienated from his father, for no good reason. He changed the custody to give me a month over the summer and every other weekend with the youngest son. Because of the severe nature of the oldest son’s disability, I had only taken him during the days during visitation.

    The mother contends that the youngest son doesn’t want visitation, but at age 11 being so thoroughly alienated, of course he’d say that. This alienation started from the day I left the marital house. He was four years old and she called him over and said, in front of me “Daddy is leaving for another woman”. This was not true, but even if it was, you don’t tell that to a four year old. So he “refused” the new visits as well. The judge made it clear in his order that the mother must make him come, that an 11 year old cannot make this choice. He also made it clear that this was a preliminary move before he actually split up the boys and gave me custody of the youngest one and left her with custody of the oldest.

    The mother has filed multiple, often contradicting cases with the Circuit Court. She has tried to get me fired, supposedly reported me to the FBI. She has contacted my wife for years, she has filed multiple false physical abuse charges again me. Because of my oldest son’s disability I cant take both of them. He has to keep his normal routine and surroundings or he gets much worse. The judge made it clear that if I felt I could take care of both of the boys, he’d give me custody right now, on the spot. But children with severe Autism cannot be juggled around like that, it makes a bad situation much worse.

    This last time the judge had required us to do the exchange for visitation in front of a local sheriff’s department with law enforcement there because he was worried about her behavior as she had even escalated her voice and other behaviors in court. In front of 3 police officers my youngest son said he didn’t want to go, even with them telling him he had to. So, they were going to force him, so he didn’t come with me.

    In preparing for the then upcoming court date I am rather sure, to the point of certainty, that the judge was going to give me custody of the youngest son, split the brothers up even though he didn’t want to, because of the extreme nature of the mother’s behavior. The previous court order almost said as much in plain wording. But I got to thinking about it. If I got one son, she had the other, would this end the issues? No, the toxic behavior would have become worse. She would have encouraged the son I had to act out against me. There would have been even more court cases, more allegations of abuse. If I could have taken both boys it would have been a much easier choice, but that was not an option.

    The constant push and pull of constant litigation on the children was taking a toll. The Guardian ad Litem made it clear she was using the custody issue to continue the divorce proceedings and that it was damaging the children. The judge had once said something in one of the many hearings that we had that sometimes walking away is a valid choice, that the courts are ill-suited at the best of times, to coming up with solutions for custody. So before the hearing I decided that one of us had to put the best interests of the children ahead of their own. So the mother had previously filed for sole physical and legal custody with supervised visits. He had not only turned down her request, but ordered additional visitation and said in the court order she was in contempt of court. I filed a brief removing any objections I had to her giving her physical and legal custody. I put the boys’ ahead of myself.

    At the hearing the judge was very kind and understanding when I explained why I was doing what I was. He said he was refusing to remove either physical or legal custody from me and would not entertain the idea. He said he was not even changing the custody order, although he would respect my choice not to exercise the right and would include a provision in the upcoming order so I could not be found in contempt of court for not visiting. At the end of this short hearing he looked at the mother and said “you have won, I hope it makes you happy”.

    Sometimes walking away is the only solution when one parent refuses to put their own interests ahead of their children. It is just in my situation, it is the alienated parent who has to walk away, not the alienating parent. With so much cases now involving children with special needs, specifically Autism, I think cases like this will be more common. Combine multiple children, a profound disability with a very toxic parent, there are no good answers.

  • Anonymous

    For all of the parents who say they cant force their kids to do things they do want to, you do it all of the time unless you are a bad parent. Children,. by their very nature, do not know what is best for them. It is up to the parents to know that. If you can make an argument to a court that visitations should end, by all means do so, but until you get that order you are required to continue the visits whether you or the child in question don’t want to.
    In a recent hearing my mine my ex made the same statement about my 11 year old son, with whom I had previously had a close relationship with. The judge told her it was her responsibility to make sure he visited. It wasn’t his choice, it wasn’t his responsibility. She was the parent, not him. He also said that many, many times he has had adults come back to him after he had forced visits on them as children and they thanked him from the bottom of their hearts for forcing these visits. It made all of the difference and kept that relationship alive.
    I haven’t seen anyone here who is against the idea of forcing visits once propose that they take a look at THEMSELVES and what they might be doing to cause the child to think about their parent in that way. It is not normal for a child to think this way, and unless there is major abuse going on, a child will not normally turn on a parent. I suggest you all take a look at yourselves and do an inventory on your behavior. Do you talk badly about your ex? Do you use body language that indicates a distaste or dislike of your ex? Do you allow others to talk negatively about them?
    As a custodial parent you have an OBLIGATION to promote the relationship of your children with the non-custodial parent. It just seems that most people here are moaning that they cant do anything and it is all the other parents fault. Truth is, there is ALWAYS blame to go around on both sides. Have you take a close look at yourself to see just what and how much you are to blame for and what you can do to change it?
    Stopping visits without due cause and not promoting the child’s relationship with the other parent will have life long impacts on your children. Children who loose contact with their other parent in situations like these go on to have more failed relationships as adults, they have higher chances for drug and alcohol abuse, they even have higher risks of being alienated from their own children. Are your issues with your ex worth sacrificing your children’s future? If so….continue on as is.

  • Stacey

    This is the reason there is confusion on the part of children, particularly female children, regarding the concept of consent. Homework and chores are responsibilities. Relationships are always optional. ALWAYS. Suggesting that a child be forced to visit a non-custodial parent implies to them that they don’t get to make a choice about whom they spend time with. Rather than negating their right to consent to a relationship with anyone, parent or not, we should be supporting their ability to rationally choose which relationships they value and teaching them how to nurture the positive relationships they have rather than tolerate the negative ones we force on them. This argument sounds to me like the emotional and bitter diatribe of a parent whose children didn’t want to spend time with them. Wonder if it had anything to do with the authoritarian inflexibility of the author.

  • Ranowa

    I was forced to visit my non-custodial parent for two years from ages 14-16. The abuse was emotional- tantamount to unprovable in court, and certainly not of interest to our batshit insane judge. For two years, I was forced to visit this woman. I didn’t eat or say a word when I was with her, and I barely slept- I was miserable, constantly stressed and exhausted, and borderline depressed. To this day, I have terrible issues with consent because, for so long, I was told the pain I felt didn’t matter just because I wasn’t 18, and I could be dragged kicking and screaming into this bitch’s house even though I had done nothing wrong. A child’s choice in custody issues can be very hard work with in a divorce, I understand that, and I’m not saying a four year old kid should never have to see daddy just if they throw a tantrum- but do not invalidate a child’s choice. The harm it does is unbelievable, and it’s not right to tell another human being they have no choice but to suffer just because they’re not old enough for their pain to matter.

  • Carol Penquite

    What’s bullshit is forcing visitation. If you leave a child’s home, you can play mommy or daddy all you want…but that’s not who you are. My grandchild has lived through emotional hell for years. Started age 3….he would pick her up and drop her with a stranger. Her mother told she was to upset to talk on phone. She is now six and has lost her happy spirit. The system is broken. You want to leave home … go ahead…but don’t think you have the right to drag your kids with you. Legally maybe but morally …sick.

  • Jennifer Moreland

    My daughter is petrified to go to her dads house for a year bribery and assuring her of his love and so on has worked. Last two months have been hell to get her to go. Last night the dam broke, I could not physically get her back out of the house without harming her. Some custodian parents do everything to obey, but a child can only take so much. She is 4 years and so stressed since age 2. I had to call the cops and in turn child protective services got involved. Something has to change in regards to where visitation is done. I promote their relationship as much as I can, following the court order. This man that wrote this has no clue about what he is talking about! 👎

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