So, the question is this: if I am the parent to whom custody of our child was awarded, and that child doesn’t want to live with me anymore, what can I do to stop this child from living with the other parent?
If the reason the child doesn’t want to live with you anymore is because you are an unfit parent (or worse, an antagonistic and unfit parent), then shame on you for trying to prevent this child from going to live with the better parent.
If, however, you are the better (meaning the more fit, more responsible, more concerned) parent, and the child wants to live with the other parent because that parent would give the child license to be a hoodlum and otherwise make a mess of the child’s life, even then there will come a point where despite your best efforts, there is really nothing you or the courts can do to prevent this child from, as they say, “voting with his/her feet.”
As the court ordered custodial parent, do you have the legal right to control the child and to dictate where the child will live and not live? Yes, but this so-called legal right or legal power is essentially only as powerful as the child’s willingness to recognize and submit to it. It is possible in some cases to have rebellious children placed in juvenile detention for being a runaway, but that’s clearly not a permanent solution to the problem, and — ironically — it doesn’t prevent the child from living apart from you.
Now we all know there are some children who simply don’t have good sense, who are self-destructive, and who may not want to reside with the better of his/her two parents for those reasons. There’s not a lot you can do to prevent this child from following his/her rebellious and self-destructive path. But for the children who can be reasoned with, if you and this child find yourself in a strained relationship and don’t know what to do, it may be time to speak with the therapist or counselor, a minister, and to ensure your taking care of your relationship with each other and giving it the attention it deserves. It may be time for both of you to engage in an activity together, from something as simple as preparing meals together or attending church together, to engaging in a team sport or restoring an old car, etc.
“Thaw with his gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.” – Henry D. Thoreau
Aesop’s Fables: The North Wind & the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”
“Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277