Celeste Robertson Law

How to Handle a Situation When Your Child Refuses to Visit Your Co-Parent

Co-parenting after a separation or divorce can be challenging, and it becomes even more complicated when your child refuses to visit your co-parent. It’s crucial to approach this situation with empathy, understanding, and a focus on the best interests of your child. In this blog, we will discuss some practical steps you can take to address this issue and find a resolution that benefits everyone involved.

  1. Open communication:

Start by having an open and honest conversation with your child about their reluctance to visit the co-parent. Listen carefully to their concerns, fears, or reasons for not wanting to go. It’s important to validate their feelings and let them know that you understand their perspective. Reassure them that both parents love them and want what’s best for them.

  1. Explore the reasons:

Try to understand the underlying reasons behind your child’s refusal. It could be related to a variety of factors such as anxiety, fear, conflict between parents, unfamiliarity with the co-parent’s home, or a general resistance to change. Identifying the root cause will help you address the issue more effectively.

  1. Seek professional guidance:

Consider involving a family therapist, counselor, or child specialist who can help facilitate conversations and provide guidance. These professionals are trained to work with families facing co-parenting challenges and can help your child express their concerns in a safe and neutral environment. They can also suggest coping mechanisms and strategies to gradually ease your child’s apprehensions.

  1. Promote positive co-parenting:

Maintain a cooperative and respectful relationship with your co-parent, even if there are disagreements between you. Your child’s well-being should be the top priority. Encourage your child to maintain regular contact with the co-parent through phone calls, video chats, or emails. This can help foster a sense of connection and familiarity, making future visits easier for your child.

  1. Modify visitation arrangements:

If the resistance persists, consider modifying the visitation schedule temporarily to make it more manageable for your child. For instance, you can gradually increase the duration of visits or start with shorter, more frequent visits to build trust and comfort. Consult with your co-parent and, if necessary, seek legal advice to ensure any modifications comply with the existing custody agreement or court orders.

  1. Document everything:

Keep a record of your efforts to address the issue and any instances where the co-parent’s behavior may have contributed to your child’s reluctance. Maintain a detailed journal noting conversations, behaviors, or incidents related to the refusal. This documentation can be useful if legal intervention becomes necessary later on.

  1. Seek legal advice if necessary:

If all attempts to resolve the issue amicably have failed, consult with a family law attorney experienced in custody matters. They can guide you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s essential to ensure that any legal actions you take align with the laws and regulations in your state.


Dealing with a child’s refusal to visit a co-parent is a complex and emotionally challenging situation. By maintaining open lines of communication, seeking professional guidance, and prioritizing your child’s well-being, you can navigate through this difficult phase. Remember, patience and understanding are key. With time, effort, and cooperation between all parties involved, you can work towards creating a healthier co-parenting relationship that benefits your child’s overall development and happiness.

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