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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 10-04-2010, 04:54 PM
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Default What age can children decide?

Quick question: at what age can a child voice their opinion regarding spending more, or less, time with either parent?

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:17 PM
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14....My husband's son is 14 and he has chosen to decide to reside with us and chooses access at his discretion, the Judge wont touch it and you can call your local police they will tell you there is nothing they can or will do at this age....also here is a publication I hope anyone reading this will find useful....
http://www.jfcy.org/PDFs/Age_Based_Laws_May_2008.pdf
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:25 PM
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sorry thay can actually voice at 12 and decide at 14...
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:37 PM
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The judge in my case listened to and is respecting the wishes of my 9 year old. He chooses not to see his father any longer. He wrote a letter to the judge and the judge said he was very brave to do so. I agree
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:40 PM
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wow thats awesome, I have herd in some cases they will allow a child a voice if they feel they are mature enough
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:53 PM
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It's based on maturity. The de-facto age the kids start having a real voice and opinion is 12...by 14 it's pretty much what they want will go and at 16 no one can force them, not even the court order.

If you have a court order specifying access, even before 16 the custodial parent should be doing everything in their power to enforce it. THAT is their legal responsibility. If they don't like it, go and change it.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:11 AM
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This is tough NBDad, at that age you can encourage it it but you cannot force it, especially if there is damage already done from a parent to a child, forcing it will only hurt a positive relationship. My advice is to get this child in counseling at the age of 12 they can go to counselling "without" parental consent. With my stepson we constantly encourage him to call and or visit his mother but he feels she ruined their relationship and she doesnt take an "active" role in his life for us to force it, he would wind up resenting us on top of resenting her. Ask around laws may be different province to province and municipality to municipality, but here we have been told at 14 if he moves out with someone 18 or over wiht whom he does not have a sexual relationship, there is nothing that anyone can or will do.....this tells you at the age of 14 they can decide indefinately
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
It's based on maturity. The de-facto age the kids start having a real voice and opinion is 12...by 14 it's pretty much what they want will go and at 16 no one can force them, not even the court order.

If you have a court order specifying access, even before 16 the custodial parent should be doing everything in their power to enforce it. THAT is their legal responsibility. If they don't like it, go and change it.
NBDad is right on both accounts.

At the age of 12 a judge will begin to take into consideration the childs wishes. But those wishes will be measured by any pressumed pressure from either parent, the maturity of the child and the basis for their reasoning. By the age of 14, generally maturity is a given, but the other factors remain. 16 they are legally able to move out on their own, so they are able to make decisions on their own.

Also, even if the child puts up a stink about going with the NCP, the CP should be doing everything in their power to encourage the relationship and attend access. It isn't just a legal obligation, it is also in the best interests of the child.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:40 AM
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In our case the child is now in secondary school and the 100km distnace is too much, he has said this in regards to his education, and we feel his decision was mature and well thought out. His mother lives an hour away and if he followed the current access schedule of 2-3 days at each residence his education would suffer greatly as it did in grade 8. He is in counselling and wants to rebuild a relationship in future but right now his education and HIS life is where his thoughts are.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:51 PM
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The thing with a 14 year old is that if the NCP wanted to make things difficult, she could try and file contempt motions against you.

At 14, if he doesn't want to go, then the onus is on the Custodial Parent to either get written agreement from the NCP on the new changes, OR to go back to court and have it changed by the judge.

Yes, the age thing can change slightly, depending on the province of residence. But for most of Canada it's 16 and the court order can no longer be enforced.
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