Do I Have to Make Daughter Go to Her Fathers

Updated on July 05, 2011
H.P. asks from Marthasville, MO
11 answers

Ok, so my daughter's (age 10.5)dad packed up and left to go out of state a year and a half ago. After MUCH encouragement, she got on a plane to visit him for 2 months over the summer. She had very little contact with him before her was to go to AZ, and even less contact when she came home. She told me she didn't want to go to AZ this summer. I wasn't going to make her. However her dad happened to move back. So she began to go on her every other wknd visits. I think she had 2 so far. She was to go father's day wknd, yet we had other plans. Great grandparent came in from out of state and hadn't seen her in 7yrs. Now this wknd was to be his...however he doesnt call to make my daughter tells me, she isn't going unless he calls me. She has said this many times that she doesnt want to big reason why she DOESN'T. But since he's been gone, she is more presistant. She even turned down a trip to TN...however I just found out her dad was going today....and she looked at me and said...I'm not going TODAY. She doesn't go to her dad's to spend time with him....she spends time with her step mom and siblings. Usually that is enough...but as she's getting older .... she seems to be enjoying staying home. And voices it quite well. There IS a court order...which I regret now not modifing it when he skipped out and moved to AZ. But can I legally allow my daughter to make her own decision about going or not going to her fathers? I understand her not wanting to go after feeling abandoned when he went out of state. I don't want to force her to go. What are the chances of a judge modifing visitation order now with her having a age 10.5???

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So What Happened?

My daughter doesn't want to sever ties with her dad.... just could care less about going. Understandably, and I always have encouraged her to go. I don't try and seperate the two at all. She is a smart cookie and knows what's up. It is more of a convience thing for her dad to see her rather than I miss and love my daughter. He waits till Saturday afternoon to ask why he doesnt have his daughter when she was to be with him Friday night. I refuse to do all the leg work. He wants his daughter, he can call and tell me. She called him the two visits she had with him once he came back from AZ... but she doesnt want to call him anymore....she wants HIM to call HER. I did relay that to him, so we will see if he makes the effort. I have to juggle taking my 2 daughter (2 diff fathers) for their wknd visits. Try to cooredinate same times/location... which isn't much a problem.... except when a father doesnt communicate his plans. Everything stays pretty much the same time etc..but things come up and when everyone is driving 45min one way it's good to know who's going to be where. I don't want to drive then sit for hours wondering if a father is coming or not. It's bad enough I will sit for an hour AFTER a set time was given waiting on a father. Am trying to convince my daughter to stay for a week or two...but she's not very enthusastic. She doesnt want to talk to her dad. She's a firecracker and usually speaks her mind...but for some reason, she wont be that way with her dad. Oh, and someone asked about child support... NOPE... havent rec'd anything in 12months. But a father can not pay a dime and still see child. Two seperate orders. Been trying to get him on that for a while, but they couldnt find him in AZ. Maybe things will get moving now that he's back. But not holding my breath.

More Answers


answers from Tucson on

unfortunately she needs to go. you would have to modify the order first. sorry

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

legally yes , but if he doesnt make a stink about it then you dont have to make her go. id wait till he calls. he sounds like he wants to see her when its convenient to him. so if he calls, yes, if he doesnt , no.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You can not modify a court order WITHOUT going back to court and there MUST be grounds. Sounds like she has a good step-mother (be grateful for that). Unless her father is abusive, drug user or alcoholic (and it can be proved in court), it will be good for your child to have her father and it will also be good for you to have the balance.

Is her father paying child support on a regular basis? Does he love this child?

I feel it is important not to make children pay for the mistakes that their parents made in the beginning, middle and end or their relationships.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

With a court order, you have to let her go. You can encourage her to voice her opinion to her father or you can talk to her father and see if he will allow her to stay home. If you don't send her and he is not in agreement, he could call the police and you would be in contempt. This is the case unless/until the order is changed. She is old enough for the judge to consider what she says she wants but not old enough for what she want to necessarily be what gets ordered.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Unfortunately, court orders are court orders. If he has visitation during the summer then there isn't much you can do until you go to court to get it modified.
Do you and your ex communicate with each other? If you do then I would suggest sitting down with him and discussing the issue with him. Does he even realize she has issues going over to visit with him? Does he understand why? Has he done anything to try to mend his relationship with his daughter? I like S' M's suggestion about the therapeutic visitation. It sounds like that is needed more than anything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

If your daughter's father wants to see her and chooses to follow the court visitation schedule then you have no choice but to follow it. Frankly, you shouldn't try to encourage her to refuse when he wants to see her or that could end up coming back to bite you in the backside big time down the road. If nothing else she gets to have some bonding time with her siblings, and that's pretty valuable.

If you want to modify visitation, you can certainly try, but I think it would hurt their relationship worse than their relationship already has been hurt. Do you want to bear any of the blame at all for their relationship getting worse? Let it all rest on him. Keeping them apart will only have you coming out looking like the bad guy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Ten is not old enough to make this decision. What you have in writing through the court is what you need to make every effort to follow. As others have said, unless she is being abused or neglected at her father's house, she needs to go.

The older a child gets, the more influence they can have on court decisions. In my stepkids' case, they needed to be 12 or 13 before the judge would listen to their opinion. But the judge would still make the decision until a child is 15 or 16.

I would do whatever possible to support your daughter's relationship with her father. You and her father need to communicate about your daugher's schedule and agree and be in charge. This is way too much responsibility to give a ten year-old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

My parents divorced when I was in 2nd grade and while I don't know what the terms were in the visitation agreement, I remember my parents trying to stick to a schedule, but my dad wasn't around on a regular basis for much of my younger years. It got to the point we kids didn't want to go with him and so both parents just sort of let it be. I now have a relationship with my dad as an adult, but there were a lot of years I was sort of resentful. I am over that now and we have a great relationship. If her dad isn't pushing for the visitation you could probably just leave the issue alone and respect your daughter's wishes. Let her go when she wants and let her stay home when she wants. Dad will have to figure out that he needs to step up if he wants a relationship with her. These things have to be nurtured. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

No she doesn't need to go, if she says she doesn't want to go, but you do need to make an effort to abide by the court ordered visitation. You will need to have some sort of neutral witness in case he brings this back to court. Consider modifying the visitation order to 'therapeutic' visitation and eventually back to normal visitation. Therapeutic is when the visit takes place with a therapist who helps your daughter address her issues for not wanting to visit dad. I don't know if your local police department would cooperate and be a witness for you, Good luck



answers from San Francisco on

Court orders are just that for a reason. Unfortunately, until you get it in writing that you are changing the order--she must go. If she is really adamant about it, have her speak to the judge and tell them why she doesn't want to go. Best wishes!



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm so sorry. Until and unless you do get the court order modified you need to make her go, or you'd face a contempt of court charge. I saw what a friend of mine went through when she was to put her daughters on a plane to see their dad in another state and they didn't want to go. Within hours her husband had her served with a court order to put them on a plane, she was arrested for contempt of court, AND he additionally requested child support for the 2 months that he would have the girls in the summer and won. Because of all this she was never able to modify the court order, and her daughters were required to fly out of state for 2 months each summer until they were 18. (Needless to say they want nothing to do with their father now.)

At 10 and a half your daughter's a little young for a judge to take her desires into consideration, but you can still ask your attorney about this. And unfortunately, even if her dad has not exercised his full rights according to the court order, he is still entitled to them. It's best for you to tell her while you understand how she feels about the situation, this is the way it is, for now, you are bound by the court order and if you plan to try and get it modified tell her that as well.

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