Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Does my 13 year old son have a right to refuse contact with his father? (NY)

Q:  We are in the process of a divorce. His father moved out in January. We tried shared custody but that came to a halt after my son walked out on his visit with him for the 4th time. He hasn't spoken with his father since. He even refuses to respond to his text messages. The biggest part of the problem is that his father is in the military and forgets that it's his son and not his soldier. I practically raised our son alone and didn't raise him with a dictator style of parenting. My son has no behavioral issues at home with me or at school. He was doing great until the court stuff surfaced and then he started to slip. The only problem that ever arises surfaces around his father trying to force him to go to therapy and visit with him. There's much more but this is a brief explanation

A:  David's Answer:  Here's the issue as I see it: can the 13yo refuse to go to school if he feels he doesn't want to? Of course not. Thus, there must be some compelling reason why your son shouldn't be sent over to visit his father. Moreover, if there is any order regarding parenting time, you'd need to file an order to show cause to modify that order - and ask for an attorney for the child to be appointed if one isn't already. Schedule a consultation with an Orange/Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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