How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33807
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
13262538
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

Can a child decide which parent to live with when 12 y.o.?

Resolved Question:

Me and my son's father have been divorced for 7 years. My ex-husband was emotionally abusive with me, and is now doing the same with me son. My son often comes back from his visits very distressed. I am the main career, but has father does see him on a regular basis. My son told me that once he is 12, he will go and live with his father, because his father wants him to live with him. My son't father has not paid any maintenance for 5 years, and only now started paying part of the maintenance 2 years ago. He is very angry about it, though it's a very small amount. Apparently my son's father wants to become the main career and get me to pay him maintenance. My son is very scared to upset his father by rejecting him. Can his father actually just take him as soon as he is 12, or would there be a court hearing? Will my son be interviewed by someone? How likely would my ex-husband win the case and take my son away? And is it possible that he would make me pay maintenance to him, though he himself has not been paying for years?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is the child and what is the current pattern of contact?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My son is 10 years old. He sees his father every Monday after school till 6pm. Every Wednesday after school till Thursday morning and every other weekend from 6pm on Saturday till Monday morning.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Does he have any extra time in the school holidays?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, we share school holidays. He does 2 weeks in the summer and a week during longer breaks, so it is just a bit less than half half.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
Does your son enjoy those longer visits?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Most times he has a good time.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
For clarity - does your son think he will HAVE to say yes?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes - his father has been brainwashing him about it for the past few years. He is really afraid to upset him, so he is convinced that he will be saying yes.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has your ex asked for more contact straight away at all - say from Friday to monday on alternate weekends?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, he has not.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is true that once a child is over the age of*****is likely to follow the child's wishes in terms of how care is shared between the parents.
Accordingly if your ex does make a court application at that point then your son's expressed wishes will be of importance
However it is not as simple as your ex saying that is what your son wants.
At the very least he will speak with a Mediator trained to work with young people who will explore with your son what he really wants and why.
If he does live with his father then yes I am afraid you will have to pay maintenance
However there is work you can do now to ensure that when the time comes your son is able to express his real wishes - not those of his father
You need to show your son that you can deal with your ex's bullying - because if you can then he can too.
YOU could maybe suggest to your ex that if he wishes to have the child more often in the future then he starts by having them for a full weekend - and coping with washing the school uniform; sorting out homework etc.
You also need to start building up your son's confidence - and his ability to think through the consequences of choices that are made.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33807
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Kasare

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    204
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TG/TGraham12/2012-7-17_81212_bigstockBusinessHandshake508163.64x64.jpg Thomas's Avatar

    Thomas

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    160
    UK solicitor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    340
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/GL/Glossolicitor/2013-5-14_214834_TWMParkinsonWright.64x64.jpg Glos solicitor's Avatar

    Glos solicitor

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2
    10 years experience in all areas of family law, now specialising in cases involving social services and children
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CL/clairep80/2013-8-25_191218_dreamstimexs267279822nd.64x64.jpg Clare's Avatar

    Clare

    Family Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    4598
    I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HH/hhlaw/2015-12-8_22495_unnamedlanczosbicubic.64x64.jpg Harris's Avatar

    Harris

    Family Law Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    1064
    Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters