During divorce, it’s not uncommon for kids to resent one or both parents. This often results in a reluctance to visit the non-custodial parent, which can cause hurt, anger and resentment to continue to build. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, contact your Toronto divorce lawyer and ask him or her to refer you to a local family therapist who can help your kids understand what’s going on (and help you deal with the ups and downs as well).
The Root of the Problem
When your kids don’t want to see your ex, there may be a larger issue at stake. Are you or your spouse inadvertently causing parental alienation? Is there a new significant other or spouse in the picture who’s making your kids uncomfortable? Are the living conditions so vastly different at your ex’s house that your kids can’t easily transition between your house and your ex’s?
Talk to your kids to determine what the real issues are. You may be surprised to hear things like “Dad doesn’t pay enough attention to us when we’re there” or “Mom’s boyfriend hogs the television.”
Remember that even if you don’t agree, your kids are entitled to their own emotions. Sometimes they’re angry, hurt or resentful because of the divorce. They may feel like visiting the non-custodial parent is a betrayal of their love for you, or they may feel like a visit is an unwelcome disruption to their everyday lives.
If the problem lies with your ex, and isn’t a result of the natural emotions and conflicts that arise from divorce, you’ll need to have a firm discussion with him or her. Contact your Toronto divorce lawyer and ask him or her to intervene if your ex is uncooperative.
What Your Toronto Divorce Lawyer May Advise
Your Toronto divorce lawyer has worked with several families in the past whose situations were similar to yours, so he or she probably has first-hand experience in this arena. Most Toronto divorce lawyers have professional contacts whose work aligns with their own, like family therapists and counselors, because they always have their clients’ best interests in mind.
Your Toronto divorce lawyer may be able to refer you to a local counselor or suggest that you find one on your own. If your ex is part of the problem, your Toronto divorce lawyer may suggest that you seek the court’s input.
Should Your Kids Decide?
The consensus among psychologists is that children shouldn’t get to decide whether or not they visit the non-custodial parent; generally, regular visitation is part of maintaining a healthy relationship. However, as a concerned parent, you’ll need to determine whether the kids’ reasons for not wanting to visit your ex are valid.
If you suspect any kind of abuse, neglect or other dangerous situations (like substance abuse), contact your Toronto divorce lawyer immediately so he or she can take the appropriate actions on your behalf.