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Child access

(12 Posts)
housewifedesperate Wed 23-Mar-16 07:35:46

Just a quick one. I will get legal advice on this but just wondered if anyone knew the legal age a child has to be before they can decide themselves they don't want to go to the non resident parent's house?
My daughters dislike going for various reasons and it's getting worse and worse. I don't really know how to handle the situation because I hate seeing them unhappy because they have to go but want them to maintain some kind of contact with their dad.

VoyageOfDad Wed 23-Mar-16 09:10:06

I'm sure 13 is often quoted on MN as the age when their opinions are taken more seriously by authorities in family law. But not that they can make the decision on their own iyswim

Fourormore Wed 23-Mar-16 09:13:03

The courts will begin to listen around the age of 10 and 11 but it's not as straight forward as the child saying they don't want to go. That's only one aspect - their welfare overall is taken into account. Severing a relationship with a parent is a huge decision and it's unlikely that a child has the capacity to fully understand the consequences of doing so.

Why don't they want to go?

Claraoswald36 Wed 23-Mar-16 12:45:49

Also wondering why they don't want to go?

housewifedesperate Wed 23-Mar-16 12:52:30

It's very personal and don't want to say anything too identifying.
Basically their father has a gf who they dislike and they feel gets priority over them when they're there (their father had an affair with this gf which one of them found out about because they were caught in my house before he left) he doesn't spend any quality time with them and she is always there (at his instigation by all accounts)
They are at a difficult age and can understand why he would find it hard to engage with them but he's just not trying at all and I don't feel I can force them into a situation which they get nothing out of except being upset because they're obviously second best

Claraoswald36 Wed 23-Mar-16 12:57:22

Ah I see. Have you spoken to the ex about this?

Fourormore Wed 23-Mar-16 13:51:29

I don't think the courts would allow your children to not spend time with their father on that basis.

housewifedesperate Wed 23-Mar-16 14:07:57

The father has been told by me and his children of their desires to spend more quality time with him on their own. He's not listening. Children are 14 and nearly 16, I believe the stupid man is in danger of losing them

Fourormore Wed 23-Mar-16 14:13:10

Okay, well then the 16 year old is unlikely to be forced to do anything against her wishes and a court order for contact only lasts til a child is 16 anyway. A 14 year old is likely to have her wishes taken quite seriously.

As long as you are continuing to make the children available that's all you really need to do. I would encourage them to keep telling their dad how they feel and otherwise leave them to it. The girls are old enough to express their feelings themselves.

Claraoswald36 Wed 23-Mar-16 15:22:19

Agree with pp. they would be Fraser competent if he goes to court. I recall my sisters step children contact starting yo tail off at that age though - they get older and want to make decisions about their time - contact gets in the way sometimes

goddessofsmallthings Wed 23-Mar-16 19:32:59

How often to your dds see their father and do they stay overnight at his place?

Was contact set out and agreed at the time of your divorce and is it enshrined in a court order?

Regardless, at 16 your eldest dd can please herself as to whether or not she sees/visits her father and, given the circumstances you've described, no court will force your 14yo to take second place to her f's gf.

I suggest you encourage your dds to express their feelings to their f by email and print off a couple of copies for safekeeping.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 23-Mar-16 19:36:07

For clarification, by 'express their feelings' I mean in a polite and respectful way while making it clear that they only want to see him if he's prepared to spend quality time with them on his own.

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