What should the deciding age be?
July 22, 2008 2:16pm CST
I have full physical and legal custody of my daughters and was wondering about what the legal age should be for them to decide. My oldest who is 12 hates going to her fathers and my 10 year old is iffy about it. I talked to a few different attorneys and they all say 16 is when they can decide on their own. My 12 year old has depression due to her father and she has been seeing a psychologist for this. They say that a few more visits and they will write a letter to my attorney but, they say this everytime! Her depression only seems to show itself when it is close to the time when she has to go. I have talked to her an I personally feel that she should not be made to go but, the order that was signed says she does. Her main reason for going is because she doesn't want to upset her father but, he tends to upset her everytime..
• United States
23 Jul 08
If your attorneys are telling you that 16 is the age where kids can decide in your state whether they want to visit their divorced parent, then I suspect that is probably the case. I think that the question of children deciding whether or not to visit a parent is a very complicated one and that needs to be analyzed based on the facts of a particular case. For instance, if one parent lives a long distance from where the child lives so the child visits in the summer and at holiday time, obviously the child will have some issues with going to visit that parent because it uproots them from what is familiar, from their friends, etc. Even if the parent does the best he or she can and takes them on vacation and enrolls them in camp or other fun activities, they are still doing those things with kids other than their friends back home. However, children do not always realize what is important for a healthy life. A 12 year old may think it is more important to be with her friends in Ohio than with her father in California, for example, but unless there is something unhealthy about her relationship with her father, in the long run, it is at least as important for her to develop a strong relationship with her father. I guess this is a long way of saying that in your situation the real issue seems to be why the children are unhappy to see their father and why they get upset more than the fact that they experience that emotion.
• United States
22 Jul 08
In many states a child of 12 can have input in these decisions so you need to find out if your daughter would be able to testify in court. Normally I encourage the parent child relationship but, in this case, it doesn't sound like it's a healthy one for your daughter. Good luck.
• Garden Grove, California
28 Jul 08
Kat from what you have said to others about your husband I am wondering if you should sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your 12 yr old as he might be doing 'something to her that she is afraid to tell you, with' what you have said he could be molesting your kids and telling them not to tell you,I hope this is not the case but something is really troubling your older girl. I was molested myself at 8 so I know it does happen. Even if he is just fondling them he is going too far.From what yuou have said, I am surprised the court lets him have' them without supervised visits.good l uck and God Bless.
• United States
22 Jul 08
I totally feel what you are going through. My daughter is also 12 and she hates going to visit her dad. She is actually in VA with him now and she is emailing me telling me to tell him to bring her home on thursday. She hasn't seen him in 7 months and she has been there less than a week. I am at a loss of what to do. I have tried talking to her and she just says that she is bored and she hates it there. No real reason so I wonder if it is just the usual 12 yr old attitude kicking in too. I told her to think positive and make the best of it. After this trip she won't see him again until Christmas. I am also thinking about having her go to couceling. The divorce has been hard on her and I think it might help me understand what I need to do for her and how to handle the situation.