Why can a child refuse to live with a parent as court ordered?

Why is it OK to allow a 14-year-old child to deny one parent access to him/her without any reason, but it is kidnapping if the child were to refuse to live with either parent and instead live with an adult that is not his/her parent?

Because your question contains a flawed premise.

It is not legal for a 14-year-old child to refuse to comply with a child custody or child visitation (also known as parent-time) order. The reason a 14-year-old child can to refuse to comply with a child custody or parent-time order and get away with it so often is because many courts don’t have the guts or a practicable way to force a child to comply.

The law does not give a minor child his/her autonomy. Minor children who are otherwise not legally emancipated are subject to the control of their parents. So if an unemancipated 14-year-old child wants to live with Person X, if a parent opposes that, and if Person X refuses either to return the child to the parent or to eject the child from Person X’s home, that constitutes kidnapping.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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