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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32979
Experience:  Over twenty-five years experience
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How old does the child have to be before he can make his own

Customer Question

How old does the child have to be before he can make his own decissions and ignore the court order. In other words when does a court order expire and the families are no longer tied to it.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
A court order lasts until he child is 18 years - if the matter relates to contact then the older a child becomes - normally mid teens (13 or14) then the court often takes the view that if a child is opposed to something it is very difficult to make them do something.Please remember to rate
Thomas Judge, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32979
Experience: Over twenty-five years experience
Thomas Judge and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The child will be 12 in November, goes to senior school in Sept. If the child has school activities at this age and doesn't want to go to his dad's what trouble does the mother get into regarding the court order. I am the grandmother, the dad sees his son every fortnight weekend, won't allow any changes unless it suites him and uses his son as a tool.

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
If she breaches the order then the father can apply to enforce the order. At 12 the child would be expected to comply. The court can look (very rare) at imprisonment, but normally some kind of unpaid work.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But what is to stop her taking the dad to court to try to change the existing court order. The dad is a manipulative bully and doesn't pay maintenance.

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Maintenance is not a factor which the court considers in these cases. But she can apply to vary the original order.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
My colleague is incorrect - any order ceases on the child's 16th birthday in any event
Also at 12 it is unlikely that the child will be forced to have contact he does not want - provided the court is certain that those were his wishes and not those of his mother
The best way forward is for your daughter to arrange to see a Family mediator
www.family mediationhelpline.co.uk
using a mediator trained to work with young people so that the child's wishes can be heard.
With that behind her your daughter will have no difficulty in applying to vary the order if her ex attempts to enforce it
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Both parties have to comply to the order don't they? Just because he says he 'won' and pretty much got what he wanted he still has to abide by it just as much as she does. Would the threat of imprisonment work on him as well if he chops and changes dates regardless of her and his sons plans. If she wants to swop a date he threatens her with the court order, but if he wants to swop a date he seems to be able to control everything.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
If he wishes to swap a date then your daughter can simply say no.
He cannot force her to offer an alternative date - and no I am afraid that there is no basis on which a parent can be forced to see a child -
Clare

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