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Parental Timesharing with Resistant Children


So, you got the Final Judgment, and your case is finally OVER. You and your ex are ordered by the Court to comply with the Final Judgment or face the dreaded contempt – you think it’s only uphill from here. Shockingly, your teenager doesn’t give a lick about the Court and outright refuses to use timesharing. Now, what you thought was settled is being brought up again and you are being threatened with contempt.  What are your responsibilities, options, and rights?

As a parent, you must encourage your child to follow the Parenting Plan and encourage a loving and positive relationship with the other parent. Florida has long established it is in the child’s best interests to have a loving relationship with both parents. But teenagers have a mind of their own, and think that they know what is best for them. So where does the court decide the line between a teenager’s refusal and the parent’s failure to abide by the parenting plan?

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule. It’s up to the judge and every judge is different. Some judges are satisfied that teenagers can be willful, others expect parents to punish children for refusing to participate in timesharing. Nonetheless, you are the parent. The teenager is still a child and children do not decide what’s best for them – you do. The parental relationship should not be jeopardized for issues between you and your ex. Anything you can do to show that you are doing everything in your power to encourage the child to participate in timesharing takes you further away from being found in contempt. Oftentimes, simply saying you encourage the child and throwing your hands in the air without any real effort is not going to be enough for most judges. Treat the situation as you would want your ex to if the situation was reversed – actively encourage your child.

Here on some tips if your child is resistant to participate in timesharing:

  1. Talk with your child to determine why they are resistant and see if you can get to the bottom of it;

  2. Get in front of it! Don’t wait for the other parent to complain or file contempt before you try to solve the problem;

  3. Together with the other parent speak with your child. Come as a united front to solve whatever issues may be there – this speaks volumes not only to the Judge, but to your child;

  4. Speak with the other parent about possible solutions;

  5. Place the child on restriction for not going to timesharing, take phones and games away, restrict visitation with friends, etc.;

  6. Communicate with the other parent about the issue openly and in writing, and detail the steps you’ve taken to resolve it;

  7. Don’t ask your child if they are going – tell them;

  8. Keep a log or journal of the incidents and what you did to encourage the relationship;

  9. Utilize family or individual counseling where needed.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Family Law attorney, call The Kendrick Law Group at 407-641-5847 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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