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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
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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Good morningFrom what age can a child decide which parent

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Good morning
From what age can a child decide which parent he/she want to leave with?
thank you
Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
technically the age is 16 - after which the court does not have the power to make any orders except in exceptional circumstances.
However between the ages of 12 and 16 the wishes of the child become increasingly important and provided there is no safeguarding reason not to do so their wishes are likely to be followed.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare

Thank you for your answer. It's straight to the point and useful.

If you don't mind, i am going to give you a bit of background information so you can relate better to my circumstances.

I have been separated/divorced for 4 years now and the ex wife has had the custody of our 2 children since then. My daughter is almost 9 years old and my son is almost 14 years old and they live right next door to me (100 yards). As you can see the kids are not babies anymore.

My issue is that i don't get to see the children as often or freely as i would like and they also tell me that they want to see me more.

One thing works against me and that is my job. Unfortunately, i work different days from one week to the other including weekends and long hours so i can't ask for regular days each week.

Depending on the mood of the ex wife i get to see the children sometimes and other times i can stay 2 to 4 weeks without seeing them so i am growing frustrated.

My son has recently informed me that he would prefer to live with me instead. In order to make this possible what steps or actions course should i take and which relevant organisations or authorities should i contact

Lastly, any ideas about cost and length of procedure !!

Thank you


If they live so close how do you not see them?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare

I do see them only when it suits my ex wife schedule, but i would like more freedom. Many times i have requested to see the children but she has turned down my request and told the children that they are not allowed or banned to see me.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi clare

You seem to have answer to my second question however it doesn't show up anywhere.

The only reply i received was a short question " if they live so close how do you not see them?"

Could you try to send it again please.

Thank you


My apologies for the delay.
The law says that a child is entitled to regular contact with both parents and the courts can enforce it if necessary.
Given the closeness of your homes there is no reason why ad hoc contact should not be possible - coupled with overnight contact at least once a week in accordance with your work schedule.
It is in fact up to your son when he sees you - at*****will abide by his wishes unless there are serious safeguarding issues involved.
the starting point is to try and negotiate with your ex using Family Mediation - if that fails then you may have to apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you