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My child, who lives with me, refuses to go to the other parent’s home: what should I do ?

Despite their parents' separation, it is important for children to maintain relations with both their mother and father.

However, a distinction needs to be made between children who are minors and those who have reached majority.

As soon as your child comes of age, they are free to choose their place of residence and can refuse to see either of their parents. The judge is no longer competent to rule on the child's residence. We still advise you, in your child's best interests, to encourage them to maintain links with the other parent, unless of course the parent has resigned or is violent.

Conversely, a minor child cannot decide on their own whether or not to maintain a relationship with one of their parents.

You must therefore comply with the arrangements agreed amicably or set out in the judge's decision, even if your child refuses to visit their father or mother. Such a refusal on the part of the child does not constitute a legal excuse or justification. Moreover, the other parent could lodge a complaint for the offence of failing to represent the child.

Only exceptional circumstances can validly justify the non-representation of the child, which must, in any event, remain extremely seldom. For example, the child may be ill and unable to travel, or contagious. Even in this case, we advise you to have the child's state of health checked by a doctor, and to inform the other parent in writing and send them the medical certificate.

If the arrangements put in place are not suitable for your child, you can refer the matter to the Family Affairs Judge to request a change in the arrangements. If your child is old enough (at least 8 years old), you can ask for them to be heard by the judge. Pending a new decision, the arrangements agreed amicably or in the original decision must continue to be respected.

If you notice that your child is behaving abnormally when returning from the other parent's home and you suspect psychological, physical or sexual violence, which would explain his systematic refusal to go there, we advise you to see a doctor and then refer the matter to the Family Affairs Judge as a matter of urgency in order to request the withdrawal of access and accommodation rights or mediated access rights for the benefit of the other parent. You will, of course, need to provide documentary evidence of all your allegations.

In any event, we recommend that you consult a lawyer, who will be able to advise you and help you with the necessary steps.