In part 1, we introduced the scenario wherein a child refuses to spend time with one parent despite the requirements of a court-ordered visitation schedule. We discussed the very real parental concerns this can cause from the point of view of either parent. It is a smart idea to seek guidance from an experienced Florida family attorney immediately for guidance through some crucial, but thorny short-term decisions, including whether to seek (or challenge) a pick-up order.
Family emergency orders
If a parent feels an emergency exists, they can ask the court for a family emergency order to protect the child. The judge must decide if a real emergency exists and if so, may enter emergency orders crafted to protect the child.
The parent deprived of their visitation rights could ask the court for an order to enforce the schedule, including to make up missed visitation time with the child. In addition, that parent could ask the court to find the other party in contempt of court for violating the parenting time schedule.
Modification of custody or visitation schedule
Either parent could ask the court to modify the parenting plan and visitation schedule after a hearing if there is a substantial change in circumstances. This is an opportunity for both sides to seek, develop and present evidence of significant changes, which could include a request of the court for an order for a mental evaluation of one of the ex-spouses.
Importantly in the situation where a child has resisted visitation arrangements, state statute provides that the judge in a modification proceeding may consider the “reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.”
Potential changes, depending on the circumstances, to the orders:
- More restrictive parenting-time conditions such as virtual contact or supervised visitation with a third party present
- Full custody with one parent without visitation with the other parent (“no contact”)
- Other rearrangements
A Florida family attorney can provide information, guidance and representation.