At what age can a child choose parent to live with?

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roimatt

I have a 7 yr old bright boy visiting wkends/50% of all hols etc by court order. My son is begining to ask to live with me, says: when mummy isn't going to tell me off i am the bested happy boy but if i think she will be angry i am the unhappiest criying boy ever. He comes to me and appologises 50 + times a day for like dropping a piece of paper or somesuch. He has since May 24th 2008 developed sycocamatic headahes. (Peaked at a 1000 per day)Today he accidently stapled his thumb! i took it out clean and phoned NHSdirect. all ok. The point is that during this time he was beging, really begging me not to tell his mum because [quote)she will be angry and tell me off. i can relate to this because i let her bully me, intimidate me over 4.5 years to the point she broke my health twice and more than once held a kitchen carving knife to my throught which was a little scarrry. I sought help from the courts who litterally crossed every t and dotted every i that i had asked for and then gave me more on top! how do i go about in a relaxed way to find out if it would be best for him to move him over to me. He is now to seeing a clinicle psycholgical peadetrition

Posted on: October 7, 2008 - 4:24pm
Louise
Parenting specialist
DoppleMe

Hi Roimatt

There isn't a set age at which a child can choose where to live. Some authorities estimate this to be around the age of 12, although it depends on the emotional maturity of the child and also whether one parent appears to be pressurising a child.

I am glad to hear that your son has the support of a paediatrician. It sounds as if he is not a happy boy and feels quite insecure.I understand that you have experience of his mother's erratic behaviour and are concerned for your son. The presence of "headaches" can be very real for him; his head hurts with the pain in his life.

Of course you can have recourse to the courts, when CAFCASS would speak to all of you individually, including your son and then they would make a recommendation. Would your boy's mother consent to going to Family Mediation with you so that you can discuss your concerns with her in a neutral atmosphere? That would be less confrontational than court. How about contacting his school to see if they have any concerns? Can you speak with the paediatrician yourself?

Louise

Posted on: October 13, 2008 - 2:41pm
Anna
Parenting specialist
DoppleMe

Hi roimatt, thanks for your response Louise, I was just thinking that you could get in touch with the Children's Legal Centre http://www.childrenslegalcentre.com have a look at their website, there are some telephone helpline numbers too.

Good Luck, let us know any progression.

Anna

Posted on: October 13, 2008 - 2:55pm
ray

Anna wrote:
Hi roimatt, thanks for your response Louise, I was just thinking that you could get in touch with the Children's Legal Centre http://www.childrenslegalcentre.com have a look at their website, there are some telephone helpline numbers too.

Good Luck, let us know any progression.

Anna

My daughter was 8 when she decided to live with me. Her mother had left us. she also decided that she no longer wanted to see her mother.
Her mother made no attempt to see her again. Ray

Posted on: December 19, 2008 - 10:20pm
fernhill

My daughter is 10 and since beginnings 2010 she has been asked to move in with me.

She claims that she feels lonely and unsupported at her mums.

I have been trying to make my daughter aware of her choice and what can come from it, not only because of changes in the way she is used to live but from her mums part as well.

knowing my ex-wife she will cut any relations with our daughter and I am affraid that my daughter will realise how hard that can be.

I have also a feeling that this is brought from underlining problems that my daughter is affraid to talk or doesnt feel confortable to talk about it.

At the same time I am making sure that don't matter her choice my house is and will always be 'our house'.

I don't know how I can have someone unbias to speak with my daughter and have a clear picture of what is happening and advise her so that way does not come from me.

any suggestions?

Posted on: May 8, 2011 - 1:42am
Louise
Parenting specialist
DoppleMe

Hello fernhill

Welcome and thank you for sharing your story.

The bottom line is that whilst there is no strict guidance in English law, I see that you live in Scotland, where the law is more clearly defined and says that once a child is 12, their views will be sought and will be very significant when a court decides where a child will live.

However, it sounds as if this is not all your question. You say that you fear that if your daughter lives with you, her mum will cut all contact, why do you think this would happen?

You are also wondering whether your daughter's desire to live with you stems from problems she is having at her mum's house, that she wants to get away from. You are right, it is important to find this out. Are you able to have any sort of civilised communication with your ex-wife? If so you could invite her to a meeting, possibly with a mediator (see here for mediator list)

If there is no possiblity of this, you need to do some further detective work. Get in touch with your daughter's school and ask to see the teacher or head of year and express your concerns and see what they say. They will probably have a Listener or Counselling service there and could encourage your daughter to see someone and get her issues into the open.

If you decide to go ahead with full time care of your daughter then it will probably mean going to court, but then the court officers will listen to your daughter's wishes. I just think it is worth getting to the bottom of it all first. You have quite rightly talked with your daughter about the implications of her living with you. Young people often think the grass is greener on the other side fo the fence and just want to get away (it might even be as simple as she thinks you will be less strict with her or she will get more freedom while you are out at work). Having said that, you need to make sure that nothing is threatening her safety where she lives at the moment.

Posted on: May 8, 2011 - 9:02am