There are two possible responses when contemplating the idea that ‘the kids don’t have to go because they don’t want to’.
The first thing to stress if that if your child is reticent to spend time with their other parent, this may be for a good reason, and it is always worthwhile to explore this sensitively. Your number one priority as a parent is to keep your child safe and this sentiment is also echoed in the family law system. If you have heard or seen something that causes concern and your child is resistant to spend time with their other parent, don’t ignore that parental gut feeling and investigate this by obtaining legal advice before sending the kids.
If the reason is something like “Dad doesn’t let me play Roblox”, “Mum won’t let me have my phone”, “I don’t like sharing a room with my sister”; this kind of a complaint is obviously a different kettle of fish and in this scenario, it’s a family law fiction that the kids don’t have to go because they don’t want to.
If you have Court Orders, these are legally binding. You need to follow them. You could land yourself back in Court and in hot water if you are not complying with your Orders and don’t have a reasonable excuse for being in breach. Even if you have a Parenting Plan or informal agreement in place, you need to use your best endeavours to actively encourage your child’s relationship and their time with their other parent.
We appreciate that this isn’t easy, but if you don’t try, you may end up in a family law dispute with your ex. If this becomes so strained and your matter goes before Court, a judicial officer will definitely be looking to see what you have done to foster your children’s relationship with their other parent.
If the kids have continuing gripes which are getting harder to ignore or talk them down from, come speak to us – it may be that we can put together a plan with you and communicate with your ex partner to vary your current situation meaning the family as a whole are much happier.