My teenage daughter doesn’t want to spend her weekends visiting her dad anymore.

Additional Information:

I have been divorced for 8 years. My 16 year-old daughter lives with me in Danvers and doesn’t want to visit her dad 2 hrs away every other weekend.  She hates giving up her sports and social life every other weekend.  Her dad gets very angry when she asks to compromise, and just spend part of the weekend with him. What rights does my daughter have?

ANSWER:

This is clearly a difficult situation for both you, your daughter and her father. You do not indicate that there is any specific problem with the relationship between you daughter and her father, other than the distance involved in spending time together. This plan may have been working for a number of years but clearly isn’t working now.  The two of you, as parents, should be commended for having consistently made this parenting plan work over these years with the distance involved. The ability to have this regular contact with her dad has certainly been a great benefit to her. The question of her rights, while important, is somewhat confusing.  The rights each of you has in determining how a parenting plan works is really not the issue of most importance.  What is crucial is figuring out a way that your daughter’s needs and concerns, as well as her fathers, can be addressed in an emotionally healthy way with a positive result.  Family mediation can be used to assist your daughter and her father to resolve this conflict and to hopefully figure out a more appropriate parenting plan. The fact that your daughter is not happy with the current plan is enough to seek to modify the current arrangement.  Her concerns and unhappiness absolutely need to be addressed, but in the context that it is crucial for her to maintain a close and consistent relationship with her dad. Mediation is a way to do this. 

Danvers  Divorce Attorney Tracy Fischer provides mediation services to divorced couples.  She helps families modify their divorce agreement as circumstances and the needs of the children change.  She provides mediation services to families in the Greater Boston area including Manchester-by-the-sea and the nearby towns of: Topsfield, Wenham, Beverly, Peabody, North Reading, and Middleton Massachusetts.