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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34581
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I have a nine year old . We went to court a year ago because

Customer Question

Hi
I have a nine year old . We went to court a year ago because my ex husband wanted increased access. In fact, because my daughter made it clear to the CAFCASS officer that she didn't like her Dad his access was reduced to alternate weekends. He is extremely bitter about this. The situation is breaking my heart because my daughter constantly says she doesn't want to go, becomes distressed and from what she tells me spends the weekend miserable. If she was happy nothing would be an issue but she patently isn't. I have arranged a school counsellor so she has someone independent to talk to but am struggling to cope with her unhappiness.
At what age can she start to be listened to ? I feel if he backed off their relationship would improve but he won't listen to anyone.
I don't know what else to do.
Advice please
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion first

What does he actually do with her on his weekends?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just usual things. He has had her friend stay on occasion to try and make her happier. He lives with his girlfriend and her two children so they do usual family things
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is very stern and when we were married I was bullied as well as subject to violence. He would not hit her but I think he manipulates her. When I ask her why she she doesn't like him she says he is 'scary'. He is very strict which is not what she is used to at home .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel helpless because I cannot help her and feel it is too much for a nine year old to sort it herself . She says she just doesn't want to go
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

When does the contact start and end each weekend?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He picks her up from school on Friday. He insisted on this because he knows she then has no choice about going. He returns her at 5.15pm on Sunday .
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Have the school raised any concerns?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not concern . They have been helpful in trying to make the transition from me to her Dad on the alternative weeks. The counsellor has tried to help my daughter negotiate with her Dad but he will not listen to what she wants or to the counsellor when she has rung him in her behalf. I wonder at what age it is recognised that she is able to understand what she wants and the implications ?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Has the counsellor expressed any concerns about the long term effect on your daughter

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. She is very much a listener and tries to help my daughter cope with the situation. There is little feedback between her and myself .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there an age when it can be accepted that her wishes are taken into account and that she understands the implications ?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunatley at 9 your daughter is still a little young for her wises to be decisive

Once she is 12 her wishes will be of much more importance - and the closer she is to 16 the more likely it is that they will be followed

since once she is 16 the Order ends in any event.

Obviously if the school starts to express serious concerns then it is possible that you can try and return to court earlier than her 12th birthday - but after that

date would be more effective

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome.

i hope matters improve