Separated parents often have frustrating moments during the exchange of the child for custody, including last-minute decisions about what to take along, reminders of school assignments due, and the frequent tension between the parents. What can make this exchange even more upsetting is when the child refuses to go with the other parent. Custodial parents in North Carolina may wonder how to handle this situation and whether it is right to refuse visitation rights to the other parent when the child simply refuses to go.

A parent who is still harboring resentment toward the other parent may agree that it is fine to permit the child to skip visitation and stay home. However, this decision could bring serious legal trouble since it is likely a violation of a court-order or court-approved custody plan. Parents may have more success if they work together to figure out why the child is refusing to go. Some common reasons include the following:

  • The other parent has a new partner or roommate the child does not like.
  • The child and the other parent have personalities that often clash.
  • The child does not like the rules in the other parent’s house.
  • The child will miss friends or activities while at the other house.

It is also possible that the child is still confused or processing the breakup. As long as there are no reasons to fear for the child’s well-being or safety at the other home, the custodial parent has the responsibility to ensure the child complies with the custody plan. When one parent misses visitation rights because the former partner allows the child to refuse to go, the denied parent may ask the North Carolina courts to intervene.