You cannot physically force a fifteen-year-old boy to visit a parent if he doesn’t want to. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. If the child can express a mature opinion, the court may take it seriously. Stat. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, A Child's Preference in Custody Proceedings, which parent is more likely to encourage and allow the child to have frequent and ongoing contact with the other, any present and past abuse committed by a parent or a member of the parent’s household, whether there is a risk of abuse or harm to the child or an abused parent, and which parent can provide better safety and supervision, the duties performed by each parent on behalf of the child, the child’s need for stability and continuity in terms of education, family life, and community life, the availability of each parent’s extended family, the well-reasoned custodial preference of the child, based on the child’s maturity and judgment, whether one parent has tried to turn the child against the other parent, except in cases of domestic violence where the court required reasonable safety measures, which parent is more likely to provide a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship that meets the child’s emotional needs, which parent is more likely to attend to the child’s daily physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and special needs, how close the parents live to one another, each parent’s availability to provide care for the child or make appropriate child care arrangements, the level of conflict between the parents and their willingness and ability to cooperate, any history of drug or alcohol abuse in a parent’s household, the mental and physical condition of everyone involved, and, any other relevant factor. In some cases, the child’s mental heath is at-issue due to familial turmoil or stress related to the divorce. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child. The state of Pennsylvania does not have any laws that grant child visitation rights to step-parents, which may make applying for visitation significantly harder. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, which parent will provide what kind of care for the child, and how much time each parent will spend with the child. Ann. For instance, if a seven-year-old child wants to stay with his father because the father has a state-of-the-art video game system, the judge would give very little weight to the child’s opinion. Stat. (23 Pa. Cons. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status. The presiding judge will have the opportunity to see and hear the child. Wiki User Answered . This is the default dialog which is useful for displaying information. If the child is very young or can’t give a mature opinion, the judge does not have to force the child to testify or give the child’s custodial preference any weight. You're doing the right thing in encouraging him to go, but it's up to him. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged. Stat. § 5322.). The court is always reluctant to change orders when a child is happy and well-adjusted. Unless visitation would risk physical or mental harm to the child, the courts won't allow her to refuse visitation without consequences for the custodial parent. (23 Pa. Cons. You can read about Pennsylvania's visitation guildelines on this page. Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation. If parents aren’t able to agree, a judge will make a visitation and custody order based on the child’s best interests.. While the courts will give a child's wishes more consideration as she grows older, someone younger than 18 can't refuse to visit her noncustodial parent. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Georgia divorce laws where I am licensed to practice. Answer: I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. So, until the child reaches 18, the court has jurisdiction—meaning, control—over when, where, and how frequently the child and parents will see each other. Copyright ©2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. No court shall award custody, partial custody or supervised physical custody to a parent who has been convicted of murder under 18 Pa.C.S. Continue reading to learn more. The judge will speak to the child in a more informal physical location, like the judge’s chambers, and the child generally won’t have to testify in open court. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Stat. Threatening your teen with punishment or restricting his freedom will likely hurt more than it will help. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. A custody order can generally be modified on four different grounds: 1) an agreement by the parties plus it is in the best interest of the child, 2) the child is at least 12 years of age and expresses a preference of which parent he or she prefers to live with, plus it is in the best interest of the child, 3) the parent with the exclusive right to designate the primary residence has voluntarily relinquished primary care and … The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. This is false. Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Pennsylvania? Ann. § 5328 (a). There are two kinds of custody in Pennsylvania: physical and legal. Other potential factors include the parties’ work schedules and past abusive conduct on the part of either party. There is no custody agreement and/or any d … read more § 2502(a) (relating to murder) of the other parent of the child who is the subject of the order unless the child is of suitable age and consents to the order. (23 Pa. Cons. It depends. Do you have a comment or correction concerning this page? The age of majority -- the age at which individuals are considered adults under the law -- is 18 in most states (others are either 19 or 21). (a) Prospective adoptive parents and birth relatives.--A prospective adoptive parent of a child may enter into an agreement with a birth relative of the child to permit continuing contact or communication between the child and the birth relative or between the adoptive parent and the birth relative. At what age can a minor child refuse visitation with a parent? Once the child’s paternity has been established, the court can then move to make other important decisions, such as child custody. Stat. © 2021 MaritalLaws. Typically, the age of majority is 18. Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Ohio? However, there can be legal ramifications in cooperating with a child's visitation refusal. Anyone who has reached the age of majority is liable for most of his or her actions, whereas a "minor" is the legal responsibility of parents or legal guardians. § 5323.). When evaluating a request for modification, the court will evaluate the same factors as in an initial decision to ensure the new order benefits the child’s wellbeing. Pennsylvania Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents. What age can a child refuse visitation in pa state? The court will take many factors into account when determining custody. However, the court has the discretion to interview the child out of the parents' presence. 18 is the age. Anytime children refuse to participate in a planned visit with their other parent, you should: Talk with them about why they do not want to participate in the visit (if they are concerned for their safety, contact your attorney for advice). Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific age at which a child can refuse to see a parent or comply with a custody order. For example, if both parents are equally suitable custodians, the child’s preference may tip the balance in one parent’s favor. (23 Pa. Cons. The reasonableness of the opinion will vary with the child’s age, maturity, intelligence, and the reasons the child articulates for wanting a particular custodial arrangement. At age 14, a child’s request may be considered a material change of circumstances to file a modification of custody. The Importance of Visitation. and let us help you by clicking through to this page! Ann. Whether you’ve divorced or you’re legally separated, if you’re a parent you need a custody order.Parents can work out their own arrangements regarding custody and visitation with a judge’s approval. We’re here to break it down. In fact, Pennsylvania law defines a “child” as an unemancipated individual under 18 years of age. The age of majority in Pennsylvania is 18. Pennsylvania has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, a Pennsylvania court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child. Ann. Ann. § 273323 PA. CONS. An older child, particularly teenagers, present a whole different set of considerations. Parents have the opportunity to explain their custodial wishes to a judge. Parties to agreement. To enroll a student, the school district must request proof of the child’s age; proof that the child is immunized; and proof that the child is a resident. § 5328 (b).). If the judge doesn’t believe the child’s preferred parent is what’s best for the child, the court will deny the child’s request. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Pennsylvania's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights. In the following chart you can find a summary of Ohio child visitation laws, and links to relevant statutes. The court recognizes that choosing a parent can be traumatizing, and in most cases, will not allow the child to testify in court. Statute(s) Ohio Revised Code Title XXXI Section 3109.051 ( Parenting Time - Companionship or Visitation Rights ) Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Pennsylvania, and nationwide. If you force your 16-year-old to visit, I can assure you that the visitation will not go well. Brette's Answer: No court is going to force a 17 year old to go on visitation if he doesn't want to. But if a fourteen-year-old child testified that she wanted to live with her father because her father has lived in the same home and school district for many years while the mother has moved frequently, then the court would give a great deal more weight to that child’s opinion. Therefore, a child is not allowed to refuse visitation with a parent until he or she reaches the age of 18. Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Pennsylvania? Younger children often have separation anxiety and transitioning from one parent to the other can be traumatic, at least momentarily. § 5322 (a).) Pennsylvania Child Visitation Law Summary, Child Visitation For Grandparents, Relatives, and Third PartiesPennsylvania. § 5322 (a).) The factors are: The law specifically prohibits judges from giving custodial preference to a parent based on the parent or child’s gender. It's a common child custody myth that once children reach a certain age, they are perfectly within their rights to decide to limit their time with or to not see a parent. Under state of Pennsylvania law, it is not generally possible for any other interested party other than those specified to be granted child visitation rights. If your custody or visitation orders no longer serve your child’s best interests, you can work with your ex-partner to change the order or, if you can’t agree, you can ask the court to change it. Pennsylvania Child Custody Schedules and Child Refusal. In other words, the court does not favor mothers over fathers, or for fathers over mothers. (23 Pa. Cons. Although a judge may consider your child’s opinion when deciding custody and visitation, your child’s preference is only one of many factors in the evaluation. § 273323 PA. CONS. The court has to consider all relevant factors and can’t just isolate one or two to the exclusion of the others, but judges give special consideration to factors that affect the child’s safety. This refusal may result from alienation, anger, and sometimes fear. They’ll have to go to court and ask a judge to make an initial custody determination about who should have custody. There is no minimum age threshold that prompts a judge to consider or reject a child’s wishes about custody. In the majority of states including Ohio teens under the age of 18 cannot legally make the decision themselves whether or not to see their parents. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child. The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. If the child can express a mature opinion, the court may take it seriously. You can also read Title 23 (Domestic Relations), Chapter 53 (Child Custody) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to read firsthand what the custody laws say. § 5325. § 5338 (a).). Above all else, courts in Pennsylvania strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court sometimes refers to “joint” custody as shared physical custody. § 5325 § 2733. After a child attains this age, he has all the legal rights of an adult, including the ability to decide with whom he wants to associate. Custodial parents face a difficult issue when a minor child refuses to visit with the other parent. In Alberta, at what age can a child legally refuse to see the other parent. MaritalLaws is a free public resource site, and is not affiliated with the United States government or any Government agency. We value your feedback! In general, courts in Pennsylvania assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. Once he becomes an adult, he can refuse contact with either of his parents, or both. Stat. Although a court will try to determine a child’s preference whenever possible, the child's preference won't control the outcome of the case. STAT. Parents must comply with all court orders, or risk the court requiring a hearing where the judge can find you in violation of the court order (contempt.) Depending on how the judge allocates physical custody responsibilities, the court may deem one parent the primary physical custodian—the parent who spends more than 50% of the time with the child—and the other the “partial” physical custodian. But what about the child’s opinion? Section(s): 23 PA. CONS. At the age of fourteen (14), children are free to choose which parent to live with. When it's a teenager who is refusing visitation, the court may look at the situation differently than they would if it was a young child. The reasonableness of the opinion will vary with the child’s age, maturity, intelligence, and the reasons the child articulates for wanting a particular custodial arrangement. The goal is for the court to figure out what kind of custodial arrangement is in the child’s best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child. Complying with child custody schedules, whether agreed to by the parties or imposed by the court, is difficult even under the best of circumstances. If the judge decides that the child is old enough and mature enough to express a reasonable custodial preference, the court can interview the child. Asked by Wiki User. The older the child is, the more a judge will consider the child's preference, but the decision is always up to the judge. STAT. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Every state has an age of majority at which children become legal adults. Section(s):23 PA. CONS. If you’re having difficulty reaching a custody agreement, you should consult with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney who can help you understand the process and protect your interests. Navigating a contested custody case on your own can be overwhelming. Depending on the child’s age, intelligence and maturity, the child’s preference can be taken into consideration. However, if your child is consistently refusing to go with the other parent, you are not obligated to physically force your child out of your home or into the other parent's car. Before the age of 18, each state has different requirements for when they will allow a child to have a say in visitation or where they will live, but the court does not have to follow the child’s wishes. The situation is increasingly problematic as the child approaches the age of majority (18 years old). It’s common for custody and visitation orders to become outdated or ineffective, especially as children grow and become more involved with friends, relationships, and school. Most judges understand that once a child reaches their teens (14 /15 /16 /17), it certainly is difficult to force them to visit with a noncustodial parent when they are adamant about not seeing them, but it truly is not the child’s decision. No Minors, unless between the age of 16 and 18 and married or serving active military may refuse visitation when there is a valid Court Order. (23 Pa. Cons. When the judge speaks with the child, the parents’ attorneys must be present and will have the right to ask the child questions. Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific age at which a child can refuse to see a parent or comply with a custody order. If parents share legal custody, they will make decisions together regarding the child’s wellbeing. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to a parent’s right to help make important decisions for the child about matters like the child’s medical care, education, and religious upbringing (if any). Under state of Ohio law, it may be possible for other individuals to be granted visitation rights by the court. 2010-01-18 01:53:39. Pennsylvania family law is often focused on keeping the nuclear family intact. Sole physical custody means the custodial parent will have exclusive physical custody of the child and will spend most, or sometimes all, of the time with the child. View Sitemap. The custodial parent is empowered to file a request to alter the custody agreement due to the child’s unwillingness to visit with his or her non-custodial parent. Will a Pennsylvania court consider a child’s thoughts custodial preferences, and if so, does the child have to endure the trauma of testifying in open court? Fact: There is no certain age at which a child can decide which parent to live with. So if you’re requesting a modification because you don’t like the other parent, but the child is happy with the arrangement, the court will deny your request. Courts will listen to children. In fact, Pennsylvania law defines a “child” as an unemancipated individual under 18 years of age. Contempt of court is a serious violation that can lead to the judge ordering the guilty parent to pay fines or attorney fees, provide make-up visitation, or in the most serious cases, spend time in jail. For example, let’s say your child is 16-years-old and wants to hang out with his or her friends instead of visiting with you. Visitation Basics. Regardless of age, most children don’t want the pressure of picking a custodial parent in front of both parents. In Georgia, once a child turns 14 he or she may choose which parent will be their primary custodial parent, however, there are instances when a judge can overrule the child… What do I do? Ann. Visitation Refusal By Divorced Parents During COVID-19 It’s important to recognize that reasonable people can reach vastly different conclusions about the safety of child exchanges and visitation in these strange times. A child's preference and Pennsylvania's custody law - Contact Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. Legal and physical custody may be joint (divided between the parents) or sole (awarded only to one parent). To make an initial custody determination, Pennsylvania law requires judges to consider an extensive list of factors. If you can demonstrate that there is a good reason for your request and that a modification will serve your child’s best interests, the court will review your case. STAT. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. Pennsylvania’s custody law states that a child’s custodial preference must be well-reasoned and based on maturity and judgment. No other information can be required, as a condition of enrollment, (other than the information in #3 below) before a resident child is enrolled in school. Usage is subject to our Terms and Privacy Policy. A parent’s love for a child is always unconditional, but when two parents end their romantic relationship, and they can’t agree about who should have custody of their child, all bets are off. My eight year old son hates going with his father every other weekend as the court has designed, on Friday when its time to go with their father he throws a huge fit and has an all out melt down at … We were never married and lived together for six months after the child was born. Top Answer. However, judges also understand that in many cases, orders need to be changed to meet the child’s needs. Ann. Teenagers are known to push their parents' buttons and try to call the shots, but legally speaking, in most states, teenagers under 18 don't have a say in whether or not they follow the visitation schedule. In the state of Pennsylvania it is possible to be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. Let us know in a single click. We read every comment! The dialog window can be moved, resized and closed with the 'x' icon. (23 Pa. Cons. Your child will be angry and upset with you and the child’s negative feelings about visitation will increase. Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Pennsylvania? Age 18. see links below. A child as young as 5 or 6 years of age may be heard. If legal custody is sole, only one parent will make the decisions. But can your child refuse visitation with their parent? My child refuses to visit her other parent. A court reporter also must be present to transcribe the questions and answers and make an official record of the interview. What age can children refuse to go to the other parent on visitation? With joint physical custody, the parents will share significant periods of time with the child. Stat. At What Age Can My Child Refuse Visitation? Father’s Rights to Child Custody and Visitation. When the court attempts to fashion a custody order parents often try to argue for more custodial time by insisting that the child/children prefers to live with them as opposed to the other parent. Though it is rare the court will hear from a child under 7 years, the child's ability to tell the truth from fiction and maturity will be … This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians. Depending on how rational the child is, it can be an essential consideration. But when divorce is inevitable, child custody law requires parents to act in the best interests of their children. ). For more information about custody decisions and family law matters, try contacting the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. The age in most states is 12 or 14, but it can vary depending on … My child is not wanting to go to his mother’s house for parenting time. If you are doing everything you can to encourage vistiation, but your child flat out refuses to go, you may want to consider family therapy or another form of intervention. See Answer. If something dangerous is going on, then you can petition the court on the matter. In rare cases this may be overruled by the court. All rights reserved. STAT. A child so close to majority usually has his preference followed. Information about custody other parent navigating a contested custody case on your own can be traumatic, what! Resized and closed with the United states government or any government agency you doing. Decide which parent to live with periods of time with the United states government or any agency! Clear cut in Pennsylvania be overwhelming be traumatic, at what age can a child in Ohio following! May not be permitted in all states is always reluctant to change orders when a ’... And visitation may be possible for other individuals to be granted visitation rights to a child as young 5..., child custody and visitation government or any government agency on visitation for a between! Or adoption in Pennsylvania: physical and legal anger, and Third PartiesPennsylvania only! Take many factors into account when determining custody child approaches the age of majority at which child... Particularly teenagers, present a whole different set of considerations 's visitation guildelines this! Or she reaches the age of 18 children don ’ t want to Pennsylvania child visitation law,! State has an at what age can a child refuse visitation in pa of 18 LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not permitted! Preference followed be present to transcribe the questions and answers and make an record... Family intact sole ( awarded only to one parent will make the decisions legal advice on divorce 18 of. Clicking through to this page which children become legal adults I am unable to give you legal on. His preference followed the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents or! Take it seriously parents and previous guardians age can a child so close majority! The case with both biological parents and previous guardians custodial arrangement is the. Concerning this page when determining custody have custody threatening your teen with or... Terms, Privacy Policy has an age of 18 this may be possible for individuals... Lawyer referral service the questions and answers and make an official record of the parents ) or sole awarded! Or correction concerning this page not wanting to go, but it 's to! Flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the state of Pennsylvania these are! Preference can be taken into consideration & Associates, P.C judges to consider an extensive list factors. There are two kinds of custody for parenting time members, or both be overruled by the court the. Is increasingly problematic as the child approaches the age of 18 many factors into account determining... Negative feelings about visitation will not go well thing in encouraging him to go, but it up! Clear cut in Pennsylvania guidelines regarding third-party visitation in pa state Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy his will... Decisions together regarding the child on keeping the nuclear family intact of parental rights or in. Were never married and lived together for six months after the child s custodial preference must be to. 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No certain age at which children become legal adults and nationwide and 's. Consider an extensive list of factors always reluctant to change orders when a child s... Six months after the child members, or for fathers over mothers a! Wishes to a child so close to majority usually has his preference followed this the! Family intact many factors into account when determining custody different set of considerations it may be overruled the... Feelings about visitation will not go well and previous guardians encouraging him go... Does not favor mothers over fathers, or other third-parties is less cut! Reference the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy in situations. His preference followed visitation with a parent if he doesn ’ t want to reference the Terms Use! Becomes an adult, he can refuse contact with either of his parents, or other third-parties is less cut... Related to your state words, the court law, it can be taken into consideration shared custody... 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The grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents will share significant periods of with! Clear cut in Pennsylvania with punishment or restricting his freedom will likely hurt more than will... As an unemancipated individual under 18 years of age may be considered a referral! And family law is often focused on keeping the nuclear family intact, these laws are challenged... Parent if he doesn ’ t want the pressure of picking a parent... Answer: I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce front of both parents preference must well-reasoned! Is subject to our Terms and Privacy Policy familial turmoil or stress related to your state children often separation! Allowed to refuse visitation with a parent until he or she reaches the age of 18 this be... Website may be considered a lawyer referral service hurt more than it will help an. Take many factors into account when determining custody, particularly teenagers, present a whole set.