On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
It is no secret that Florida family courts have the power to order a parent to STOP spending time with his/her child. But let’s spin this situation around a little bit. Let’s imagine that a parent does not want to spend time with his/her child (but has visitation rights), no matter how cruel and wrong it may sound.
Can a court force that parent to spend time with his/her children despite his/her unwillingness to do so? “In theory, it can, but it is more complicated than that,” says our Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney at The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Each situation is unique
Before we get started, I know what many of you are thinking. “Wait, what? A parent who does not want to see his or her kids? What a worthless and irresponsible piece of scum!”
It is wrong to assume that only irresponsible parents would not want visitation rights. There are certain circumstances in which their decision can be justified (imagine if a parent does whatever it takes to make the child hate the other parent, breeding an unhealthy or even abusive relationship, and hurting the child’s emotional and mental wellbeing – it is no wonder why the latter parent would choose to not see his/her child altogether for the child’s own good).
So can a court actually force a parent to exercise his or her visitation rights? “You might be surprised how many people want to ask this question, but are too afraid to,” says our child custody lawyer in Fort Lauderdale. They are too afraid to ask this question for the same reason: not wanting to be called a worthless and irresponsible piece of scum.
A court can order a parent to see his/her children, but why would it?
In theory, Florida family courts do have the power to order a parent to spend time with his or her children even when that parent does not want to see or have anything to do with his/her children. These cases are very rare, but they do exist.
However, that is where the question “Why would the court do it though?” arises. It is an outstanding question, because, more often than not, when a parent does not want to visit his/her children, forcing that parent to do so would do the children more harm than good, which is the opposite of what family courts are trying to achieve. When determining child custody, Florida family courts make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child.
So would it be in the best interests of the child to be forcing one (or even both) of his/her parents to spend time with him/her? Probably not. Not to mention that it would be practically impossible to enforce an order that forces a parent to spend time with his or her child.
Do not be afraid to ask questions
Let’s imagine that the parent who does not want to see his/her child now decides that he/she wants to have visitation rights again a few days, weeks, months, or years later. “I used to have visitation rights, so I can get them back whenever I want, right?” this parent is thinking. Well, it is not how it works.
A family court in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Florida will most likely tell that parent, “You had your chance, there is no going back.” That is, of course, if the parent cannot prove that the child would suffer irreparable harm and it would be against the child’s best interests to deny visitation.
Regardless of what are the circumstances in your particular case, do not be afraid to ask questions. Let our Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney from The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., answer them. Call our offices at 954-533-2756 or fill out this contact form to schedule a free consultation.