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Can a child refuse visitation in Nebraska

Can a Child Refuse Visitation in Nebraska?

How much power does a child's opinion have?

Child visitation is an essential aspect of maintaining healthy relationships between parents and their children after a divorce or separation in Nebraska. However, there may be instances when a child refuses visitation with one parent. In Nebraska, as in many other states, the law recognizes the importance of a child’s well-being and safety and is comprehensively reviewed surrounding a child’s refusal of visitation in Nebraska and the legal implications involved. 

If you’re concerned about child custody rights, submit a free case evaluation or give us a call at 402.509.7033.

Understanding Visitation Rights in Nebraska

In most custody arrangements, one parent assumes a more substantial custodial role, while the other parent has a lesser custodial role, which is commonly known as visitation. Essentially, visitation denotes the allocated parenting time for the parent with whom the child does not primarily live.

Court-Ordered Visitation: Visitation rights in Nebraska are typically outlined in a court order as part of a divorce or custody agreement. These orders specify when and how visitation will occur, taking into consideration the best interests of the child.

Best Interests of the Child: Nebraska courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions about visitation. This standard considers various factors, such as the child’s age, emotional and physical well-being, and any history of abuse or neglect. 

Child Refusal of Visitation

As children of divorce grow up, situations may arise and preferences may change. To act in order with the best interests of the child, Nebraska courts look at various factors to analyze visitation situations:

  • Child’s Age and Maturity: One factor that may affect a child’s refusal of visitation is their age and maturity. Older children may have a greater say in visitation decisions, while younger children’s preferences may be given less weight. However, there is no magic age where a child’s preference becomes more influential. 
  • Reasons for Refusal: It is crucial to determine why a child is refusing visitation. Their refusal may be due to legitimate concerns, such as feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. It is essential to address these concerns appropriately.
  • Parental Influence: In some cases, a child’s refusal of visitation may be influenced by one parent. The court will assess whether a child’s reluctance is based on their own feelings or if they are being manipulated by a parent.

Legal Implications

When a child refuses visitation with a parent, there are legal actions that can be taken: 

  • Court Enforcement: If a child refuses visitation, it is generally the responsibility of the custodial parent to encourage the child to comply with the court order. If the custodial parent fails to do so, they may face legal consequences, such as contempt of court charges.
  • Modification of Orders: If a child consistently refuses visitation and it is deemed to be in their best interests, the court may consider modifying the existing visitation order. This modification can include changes in visitation schedules or supervised visitation.
  • Custody Modification: In extreme cases where the child’s refusal is based on severe concerns, such as abuse or neglect, the court may revisit the custody arrangement to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.

Dealing with Child Visitation Refusals

It can be difficult as a parent to navigate what to do when your child refuses court ordered visitation with their other parent. However, unless there is an official legal change in the child custody order, parents must comply with the court’s decision as is. 

Here are a few avenues to explore if your child is refusing visitation: 

  • Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication with your child. Try to understand their reasons for refusing visitation and address any valid concerns they may have.
  • Mediation: In some cases, mediation can be a helpful tool to resolve visitation disputes. A neutral third party can facilitate discussions and help find solutions that work for both parents and the child.
  • Therapy or Counseling: If the child’s refusal is based on emotional or psychological issues, therapy or counseling may be beneficial. This can help the child cope with the challenges of divorce and improve their relationship with both parents.
  • Legal Counsel: If visitation issues persist, seeking legal counsel is advisable. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance on how to navigate the legal process and protect your rights as a parent and the best interests of the child. 

Working Through Child Visitation Refusal in Nebraska 

Child visitation refusals in Nebraska are complex issues that require careful consideration of the child’s best interests, their reasons for refusal, and potential legal implications. It is essential for both parents to prioritize the child’s well-being and work together to find solutions that benefit the child’s emotional and physical health. When disputes arise, seeking professional guidance from family law attorneys, mediators, or therapists can help ensure that the child’s needs are met while upholding their legal rights and responsibilities as parents. Ultimately, the goal is to create a supportive and nurturing environment that allows the child to maintain healthy relationships with both parents, even in the face of visitation challenges.

The experienced child custody attorneys at Nebraska Legal Group are poised to help you through your child custody matters in Lincoln and Omaha. If you need to start a custody petition or modify an existing one, fill out our free case evaluation today