Summer is full of activities for families. Carnivals, fairs and fireworks come to Pennsylvania. Amusement parks and beaches are great places to take the kids. Even activities around the home, such as cookouts and picnics, often involve children. When one is living within the limitations of a child custody agreement, summer may be a challenge.

Some co-parents work well together and agree to compromises and schedule variations during the summer months. Others, however, have more adversarial relationships that may place the children in the center of a power struggle. This may be demonstrated by a refusal of one parent to send the child to the co-parent during the scheduled time.

It may seem that the best response is to accept it and avoid the conflict, especially if the refusal is a first time occurrence. However, some advisors suggest that simply accepting the refusal may send a message that encourages the co-parent to continue refusing custody to the other parent, which may actually escalate the situation. Every refusal should be documented, and not more than one or two should happen before a contempt charge is filed against the parent who refuses to abide by the custody agreement.

A co-parent in Pennsylvania who fears confrontation during a custody exchange may be wise to schedule the exchange at a police station. Additionally, if the child refuses to go with the co-parent, it may be a sign that the other parent is deliberately attempting to alienate the child from the parent. A parent who does this risks losing custody of the child altogether. Any parent dealing with child custody issues should contact his or her attorney for advice on the legal steps for handling the situation.

Source:, “Shared child custody refusal during summer months“, Tess Hill, July 18, 2016