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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34895
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I am now divorced, my ex-wife and I have a 12 year old daughter

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I am now divorced, my ex-wife and I have a 12 year old daughter together (13 on the 8th May). At the moment she spends alternate weeks with me and her Mum, i.e. 50:50. That said my daughter is coming to the frame of mind that she doesn't want to go to Mum's.
She feels that her Mum never buys her anything, doesn't know what she likes ( as a poor example she bought her plain chocolate Easter eggs, and she hates plain chocolate), and seeks to use her as a pawn in any disputes that Mum and I have. Mum has a history of drug & alcohol abuse, instability, and violence towards her eldest daughter (my step daughter); though some of this is hard to prove and I would want to void using that if at all possible.
I have the impression, perhaps mistakenly that my daughter can say "I want to live at Dad's" (perhaps from 13?). From there we can perhaps agree some contact with Mum.
Also if the above is feasible can she come and stay with me full time until some form of access with Mum is worked out so that she is not "forced" to go to Mum's and put under pressure there?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Are there any court orders in place and has your daughter expressed her views to anyone other than you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There are no Court Orders in place, nor have there been any at any time. Everything so far has been by mutual agreement.

She has expressed her wishes to her elder sister (20), Grandma, and aunt (my sister)

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am sure I have responded to your question, but the site now makes it look as if I haven't responded (!)

There are no Court Orders in place, nor have there ever been any. To date everything has been by mutual agreement.

She has expressed her views to her elder sister (20), Grandma, and aunt (my sister).

You are not mistaken - at 12/13 the wishes of the child are indeed almost always decisive provided it is clear that they have thought about the implications of their decision = mainly because if they chose to vote with their feet it is hard to force them back!
I suggest that you make immediate arrangements to discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation
and a mediator trained to work with young people so that your daughters views can be clearly heard and arrangements for the time she will spend with her mother made.
If your ex will not agree then go anyway - and then simply allow your daughter to remain with you
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Just one thing is still unclear in my mind.

I am very happy to follow the process that you have out lined.

If during this process my daughter decides to vote with her feet there and then can Mum "force" her into going back to her house on a regular basis whilst things are "sorted out"?

My fear is that if she is "forced" back to Mum's in an interim period she will be subject to undue pressure, emotional blackmail, and (if past experience is anything to go by) verbal abuse and shouting.

No your daughter cannot be forced to go to her mother's if she does not wish to do so
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank-you, that answers all my concerns.

I hope all goes well
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Something's just flashed across my mind, and it may not be encompassed in this matter/fee.

If we go through the process that you have outlined, will I ultimately need to seek a Residence Order or is my daughter's expression of her wishes (via mediation) sufficient?

I suspect my ex-wife will not readily accept my daughter living with me.

If her mother will not accept that your daughter does not wish to stay with her, and mediation fails then you can simply all ow your daughter to stay with you - it will then be up to your ex if she wishes to have the child stay with her.
If she does apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order then you can simply ask for an Order that reflects your daughters wishes
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank-you, that's quite clear.