Refusing to Visit Non-Custodial Parent

by Judy from Orlando, Florida, Orange County

My daughter, who is 11, refuses to go to visit her father during visitation time. I have sole custody, and the father has a "temporary" visitation agreement that was valid for 6 months, which has expired.

During the age of 4-9, my daughter visited her father through a court run supervised visitation center.

My daughter is supposed to have phone contact with her father on Tuesday evening between 6 and 7pm, and every other weekend (that she is not with him).

Over the past 4 months, every visitation is volatile. She kicks and screams and cries, refuses to get out of the car, and threatens to kill herself to keep from visiting him.

She does not want to be with him alone. She reluctantly goes when he allows her to have a friend stay over with her. He has thrown her cell phone out of a moving car, put it under the wheel of his car and threatened to run over it, has taken door knobs off the bathroom and bedroom doors so she cannot lock the door.

She refuses to eat when she is with him, or take a shower because he will walk in on her. He calls her every single morning before school, and every day after school, and then again several times in the evening.

This past weekend, he called her (in one day) 21 times, and texted her 14 times. She is begging to go back to court, because she says he pushes her, and cusses at her, and always yells. He constantly tells her she is a bad child.

Two weeks ago, when visitation was over at 6pm on a Sunday - he refused to let her come home. He locked her in her bedroom, and held the door so she could not get out. It took 3 hours to have the police come so she could leave. He refused to answer the door when the police came, and told them to get the f(*)(*) off his property, and that he would not let her out until they were gone.

The police pulled around the corner, and he finally let her out. She was scared and upset, but relieved to be out. The police told her not to go back to his house. She has since refused all visitations where she would have to be at his house. She has gone to a movie and a concert with him since, but nothing where she would be required to be at his house.

I've tried to get her to tell me all of the issues, and why she doesn't want to be at his house, but she clams up. She is afraid he will hurt her, just to get back at me. She says he is always angry and yells constantly. The weekend she refused visitation, I finally told him I was not going to force her, cause she said she would kill herself. He didn't care, he came to my house anyway, and insisted on her talking to him.

She came out
and told him she didn't want to go with him, but he kept on and on. We have already spent $55k in court - we are bottomed out, but I need to find a way to make this better for my daughter. I've always tried to encourage her to visit and "let things go", but now I'm afraid there is something more going on that she won't tell me about.

Her friends (who have spent time at his house with her) tell me that he is "nuts" and that he blow dries his arm pits, and chest hair - I wonder how they know that? They say he is very mean to my daughter, and that he expects too much from her.

Perhaps that is just a 11-12 yr old's perspective...but I need to find a way that my daughter can talk to a court/judge - she wants to tell someone what is going on, and begs to do so in order to have 'supervised" visits again.

Answer to Florida Child Visitation Question

Dear Judy,

Shame on you. Listen to your daughter. If she doesn't want to see him, why in the world would you make her? If your visitation was valid for six months and is now expired, why is there any visitation at all?

If your ex is abusive towards your daughter, and by the way, what you described is abusive, I suggest disallowing any type of contact at all. Why is he calling and texting her when he is supposed to call only at certain times, pursuant to your expired visitation order? Get her a new phone number. Tell her not to give him the number.

The things that she has told you are likely only be the tip of the iceberg. And I can't help wondering how you spent 55k and did not manage to end up with a visitation order that is in the best interest of your daughter. By all means, go back to court; or even simpler, let your ex take you to court.

Be sure to let your daughter tell the judge why she does not want to go to her father's house. Your story smacks of emotional abuse, and possible sexual abuse. Why else would your daughter be worried that her father would walk in on her in the shower?

Your daughter is threatening suicide. It is a myth that people who threaten suicide, never go through with it. Some people do. I suggest that you go with your daughter to family counseling. Seek help.

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Comments for Refusing to Visit Non-Custodial Parent

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Get Her in Therapy.
by: Anonymous

I understand why you are encouraging her. You are trying to make sure you aren't the thing standing between them. I think that it is ok now that there is clearly something other than you in between them, for you to step in on her behalf.

Many hugs, it is ridiculously hard to find a judge in Florida that will hear testimony from an 11 year old.

I would stop sending her to the visits until he brings you to court. Get her in counseling (they're mandated reporters so if she tells them anything they have to report him, and there will be someone to come testify in court if you get to that point so that your daughter doesn't have to)

Oh, and if/when he does file to go to court, file a motion requesting a Guardian Ad Litem. That should stall things out at least a year or two. Good luck!

--Here is the link to the Motion for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem: Form 12.942(a). --Staff

Mother Requesting Relinquishing Parental Rights
by: John from Naples

I have decided to go pro se to my ex-wife's motion to relinquish my parental rights with my 16 yo son. What documents do I have to file with the court to put my ex and son on the stand and question them?

--See the Motion for Testimony and Attendance of Minor Children, Form 12.944(a). --Staff

Empathy, get help now
by: Anonymous

Hello Judy, First and foremost any situation like this is very difficult and stressful to both parent and child. You're doing what you thought was right, and I commend you on that, raising little girls aren't exactly a piece of cake sometimes, and NO ONE has the right to point fingers or reign judgment upon you, when you're at least trying and seeking help. Were all human hello, we all make mistakes. My heart goes out to you and your daughter.

There are special forms online at there is a specific form to motion child's testimony and presence as a witness along with many others. And get DCF, involved ASAP. Something doesn't seem right, there is definitely some sort of abuse and power of control going on. And your daughter is reacting and responding to the situation the best way she knows how, but it definitely is a cry for help, getting you and your daughter the proper counseling will help also, and possibly allow your daughter to open up to the truth of what's really going on.

For the mean time I'd get a restraining order in place. Even in the midst of our broken hearts, confusion and pain, we feel for our children when we see them hurting, the best thing to do is support your daughter as best you can, but no forcing or imposing on her, gain her trust, if you don't already do so,by enjoying and becoming more knowledgeable of some of her interest and hobbies, get down on her level.

Listen to her (even her non verbal communication and gestures), her behavior and change in demeanor can give u a better idea, listen and watch. Again, I'd get DCF involved ASAP, and look up the legal forms, and look into counseling. Best of luck.

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