My Child Refuses to Be with Me and My Ex Is the Problem
As mentioned in a previous post, sometimes after parents divorce or separate, their child may say they don’t want to spend time with one of their parents. It may be a temporary phase, brought on by the child’s feeling angry that the two of you are no longer together. It may be because your son or daughter does not feel welcome or safe in your home.
What can you do?
Talk with your ex about the situation.
Without assigning blame, ask your ex if they know why your child may be angry with you. Emphasize how important it is for your child to have a healthy, loving relationship with both of you. Be sure to focus on the well-being of your child, rather than your own feelings of hurt and rejection.
Following are some possible remedies:
Work with Your Ex
If you and your ex are on good terms, enlist their help. Ensuring that you have a good relationship with your child will help everyone involved, including your ex. Most parents understand that children need a positive relationship with both parents. Talk with your ex about the situation, and see if they can determine the source of your child’s reluctance to be with you and can help you address it.
If your ex refuses to work with you, seek help.
If you believe that your ex is the problem, it is important to act quickly and decisively, before your child’s behaviors become deeply entrenched.
Court ordered family therapy
You can seek court ordered therapy with a therapist who is familiar with the issue of parent rejection. This type of therapy may include individual therapy for your child, family therapy for all of you together, and individual therapy for your ex. A skilled therapist may be able to make your ex understand the harm they are doing, as well as help repair your child’s relationship with you.
Court ordered custody and visitation changes
Depending on the severity of the problem, and the age or your child, the court may change your child custody and visitation orders to include any of the following:
- Updating your parenting plan with additional court ordered time for your child to be with the rejected parent, including consideration for equal parenting time.
- Assignment of joint custody to ensure involvement of the rejected parent in child-related decision making.
- No change to legal custody, but interim suspension of contact with your child’s favored parent.
- Reassignment of legal custody to the rejected parent and suspension of contact with the favored parent for a period of time.
For everyone’s wellbeing, it is always better for parents to work together in raising their child rather than for one parent to attempt to create a rift.
I can be of assistance
If you feel that you need to are ask for court ordered therapy for a parent rejection situation, or you need to change your parenting plan, please contact my office for a consultation. I can represent you in court, as well as modify your child custody agreement.
Attorney Christina Sherman is a Marin County CA family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues.
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