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What Age Can a Child Decide Visitation in North Carolina?


North Carolina, as most states, decides child custody according to what is in the best interest of the child as determined by the family court judge hearing the case. Visitation in North Carolina is decided in the same manner. Custody and visitation in North Carolina are usually best settled outside of the courtroom because the parents know their child better than the judge, attorneys, or any other parties involved in the custody case. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to work together to resolve custody and visitation issues; therefore, a judge must make the decision for them.

The family law attorneys of The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm understand the sensitive and emotional nature of issues regarding visitation in North Carolina. Our priority is to protect the best interest of you and your child as we work together to resolve custody and visitation rights for your child. If you are involved in a custody dispute, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

What If My Child Does Not Want To Follow The Schedule For Visitation In North Carolina?

North Carolina family court judges prefer to see parents work together to settle issues related to custody and visitation in North Carolina. In most cases, it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents play an active role in the child’s upbringing. However, sometimes it is in the best interest of the child to grant sole custody to one parent. When this occurs, the judge must also establish a visitation scheduled for the non-custodial parent.

The judge may grant reasonable visitation or structured visitation. Reasonable visitation is much more flexible because the schedule is set by the parents. If the parents cannot work together, the judge will order a structured visitation schedule. The schedule specifies when the non-custodial parent will have the child with him or her. It also includes language about the forms of communication to be used by either parent when the child is not with that parent.

State laws permit a judge to consider a child’s wishes when determining custody and visitation in North Carolina but the law does not specify when the judge must consider the child’s preference or what weight to give to the child’s preference, if any at all. It is entirely within the judge’s discretion to ignore the child’s wishes completely. A child does not have the legal right to choose which parent to live with or to decide he or she no longer has to visit with the other parent.

Of course, as your child grows older, it can be difficult to “force” him or her to adhere to the visitation schedule. Judges do understand that it is difficult to force an older teenager to see a parent that he or she does not want to see. If your child is fighting against the visitation schedule, there could be a reason. Because each case is unique, contact our office to discuss your options if your child is refusing visitation.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney

“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”

The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm is a Jacksonville law firm committed to providing legal representation to individuals seeking an alternative to large-firm representation. We focus on what is best for you and your child when handling child custody matters. Child custody and visitation issues are probably the most important legal issues you will ever face.

You need an experienced legal professional in your corner who knows the law and who has the experience to get results. Our attorneys have extensive experience in all areas of North Carolina family law.

We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.