How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Refuse Parenting Time With the Noncustodial Parent?


It often happens that a child may change her mind about spending time with the noncustodial parent, or sometimes a visitation schedule that worked for when the child was a toddler is no longer practical now that the child has grown into a teenager. Our attorneys discuss how old your child has to be to refuse visitation time, and what can be done if changes to the parenting schedule are necessary.

What Happens if My Child Is Refusing to Spend Time With My Ex?

While it is true that children 12 years or older may be interviewed by the judge during a divorce and custody process to determine the child’s wishes for which parent they would like to live with, what the child says is merely used as another piece of evidence for the case, and is not considered a deciding factor.

Texas family code is pretty strict when it comes to parental visitation with a child following a divorce, and the child is expected to spend time with the non-custodial parent as defined in the court-ordered parenting schedule. The courts make this determination regardless of the child’s wishes.

Are There Legal Consequences for Allowing a Child to Refuse to Go With the Other Parent?

Because the visitation and parenting time arrangements are part of a court order, there may be legal consequences for the custodial parent of a child who is refusing to go with the noncustodial parent. Generally speaking, the custodial parent may be accused of being in contempt of court simply because the original court orders are not being respected.

How Old Does a Child Have to Be Before Being Able to Choose When They Want to Visit a Parent?

An individual who turns 18 years of age is an adult and can no longer be forced to see the other parent if that is against their will. Anyone under 18 is considered a minor in Texas, and unfortunately, nobody under 18 can make decisions regarding parenting schedules that were signed off by a judge.

Can a Family Law Attorney Help Change My Child’s Visitation Schedule?

If your current parenting schedule is no longer working for you and your child, or if you would like to learn your options for modifying your child custody arrangements, talking to an attorney should be your first step. Even if you and your ex-spouse agree on the changes, there are legal steps that need to be taken to have the new plan approved by the court. ALP Law Firm handles many custody and modification cases in Bellaire, TX – contact us to discuss your case.