Can Children Refuse Visitation With Parents?

Children generally may not refuse visitations with parents; courts make exceptions only if visitations are not in the children's best interests. Typically, courts at the local, state and federal levels give visitation rights to non-custodial parents. They allow parents no longer living with the children to visit at scheduled times, provided visits do not pose physical or emotional harm to children, and require visitations for specified periods of time.

In cases of divorce, one parent generally receives custody of the children. That parent lives with and cares for the children most of the time. Courts consider the other parent non-custodial, meaning he or she may spend limited amounts of time with the children. Courts consider several factors when deciding whether or not to grant permission for non-custodial parents to see children. The true wishes and best interests of children play a key role. However, courts look for signs of persuasion by custodial parents to deter non-custodial former spouses from seeing children too. If refusal for visitation stems from the wishes of custodial parents, not the children, courts mandate visitation anyway. Courts sometimes extend visitation rights and refusals to extended family members, such as grandparents and other caregivers or guardians. Factors such as relocation and past abuse also influence courts' decisions on whether children can revoke visitation rights.