What rights does my daughter have when it comes to visitation?

Additional Info: I have been divorced for 8 years. My 16 year-old daughter doesn’t want to visit her dad 1 1/2 hrs away every other weekend.  We live in Sherborn and her dad now lives over an hour away.  She’s a teenager and has a busy sports schedule and social life.   What rights does my daughter have?

Attorney Answer:

It is hard to force a 16 year old to do anything.  Is there an alternative schedule that she will agree to?  It’s always best to have a change that is agreed to be all persons involved.  If she can come up with a schedule that she is willing to follow that will give her father time with her and her father agrees to it, that would be ideal.  If she just refuses to go and your ex-husband objects, he may file a complaint for contempt against you.  Of course, the fact that your daughter does not want to go would be part of your defense to the allegations of contempt.  Whereas the Court is very hesitant to get children involved in their parents battles, the Court will listen to the 16 year old and will be particularly interested in why your daughter doesn’t want to go.  Obviously, there’s a difference in your daughter just wanting to hand out with friends and having a job, sport, etc.  The Court will make the final decision based on what is in your daughter’s best interests, but will likely want to see some alternative parenting schedule set up for your daughter’s father.

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