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Can a court force a parent to exercise visitation, even if that parent doesn’t want to?

If a divorced parent doesn’t want visitation rights (i.e. doesn’t want to see his/her child), is that legal, or would the court order the unwilling parent to have visits?

This a great question because it’s a bold, honest question that many parents (more than you’d think) want to ask, but are afraid to ask for fear of being branded scum of the earth.

To those of you who think that only the scum of the earth would ask such a question, I can assure you that there are times when a loving parent may nevertheless not want visitation rights. One of those instances is when a parent knows that the other parent is hell-bent on making the children suffer unless and until they break all ties physical and emotional with the other parent.

So a good question like yours deserves a good answer, and I will do my best to provide you with one:

Can a court order a parent to spend time with his/her children, even if that parent does not want to spend time with his/her children? Yes. I have never seen it happen in a case I’ve handled, and I do not know of any instances of it happening in other cases. But yes, the court has the power to order a parent to spend time with his/her child.

Would a court order a parent to spend time with his/her children, even if that parent does not want to spend time with his/her children? Probably not. Courts know it’s virtually impossible to enforce such an order, and even if it could be enforced, the enforcement of the order would probably do the children more harm than good.

Warning: if a parent took the position of “I don’t want visitation now, but maybe later, and if and when I do want visitation, I’ll just go back to court to get visitation ordered” the court would likely tell such a parent, “You had your chance, you forfeited visitation then, and so you can’t get it now,” unless somehow that absentee parent could prove that the children will suffer irreparable harm if they were denied visitation going forward.

Finally, unless you are a parent in one of those weird (and tragic) situations where visitation between you and your child(ren) would do them more harm then good, abandoning your children is one of the most cruel things you could do to them; it leaves scars and cripples all but the strongest of children emotionally and psychologically for life. Your kids need to see and be involved with you, even if you don’t want to be involved with them. Other than in exceptional circumstances, you owe it to them.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/If-a-divorced-parent-doesn-t-want-visitation-rights-i-e-doesn-t-want-to-see-his-her-child-is-that-legal-or-would-the-court-order-the-unwilling-parent-to-have-visits/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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