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What age does a child have a right to say how much time is spent where?

sandqueen's picture

I have 50/50. My BD's SM smokes pot every day and has a foul attitude. My DD says she cries and does not feel like part of the family. My EX tells her "be nice to SM so she's happy this weekend or today ok?" AS though its my 16 y/o DD's responsibility to make SM happy!!!!!! My DD CAN have a rotten attitude, lock herself in her room and prefer to text rather than flounce about with the family, that's a 16 year old. If you tell her to do chores she does them, if you tell her to come out of her room she will. She may not be happy but she doesn't throw fits, she does not call names, she does not swear at you. Her friends are decent girls. She's a NORMAL teenager. exdh and her sm have a 7 year old who is in the phase of being around family and is happy/excited if you bring her a 4$ toy. a 16.5 y/o is different.

DD asked me to get her out of dad's house. I cant, theres no abuse, no pot smoking in front of DD. I have asked DD if SM drives her high and she says no. I have NOTHING to go on. So we went to the therapist who said if your lawyer said it wont work, it wont work.

What age do kids have a right to say I dont want to be there AS much. My DD cant even get a part time job b/c of the schedule. She does not have any availability. My exdh refuses to let her get a weekend job and walks around angry 24/7 b/c his wife is a pot smoking non bill paying wife. :?

overworkedmom's picture

It depends on the state. In mine, at 14 they have a "say" in what goes on with visitation and where there primary home is. If your daughter is that unhappy, you can always take it to court. Has he said why he will not support her in working? You can also bring into the case that your EX's wife is on drugs and you don't want that around your daughter....

EdgeOfReason's picture

In our state there is are 8 areas that a judge must consider in a custody decision. 1 area is the well reasoned desires of the kid(s). That's our state, not every state.

There is no magic age.

Having said that, do you really to take this to court?

I have a bd, just turned 17. For the last year or two I have left biodad and dd's relationship up to them. I have stayed right out of it ... just let me know when I have to drive you (it's a couple hour one way).

I think this is a better stance to take because the kid needs to learn how to deal with the father. It's a part of growing up. Let dad and daughter manage their own relationship; stay out of it.

EdgeOfReason's picture

To put what I said in context, learning to negotiate and deal with dad is a part of growing up, normal situation or not.

My ss' mom threatened suicide to the kid, amongst other things, and we have been told, the ss needs to learn how to deal with mom by judges, lawyers and therapists. Do I like it? Nope. I'd rather protect him ... but ... until that boy can say that he doesn't want to go there, we'd be flushing money to make it so he didn't have to.

I'm suggesting that she tell her dd to attempt to gain control over her schedule first rather than going to court. Either way, dd is going to have to say how she feels about being at her father's home. Either way she is going to make it known that she doesn't want to be there. My suggestion is just a lot cheaper and lets dd learn a life lesson.

sandqueen's picture

"I think this is a better stance to take because the kid needs to learn how to deal with the father. It's a part of growing up. Let dad and daughter manage their own relationship; stay out of it."

I have stayed out of it, I got her therapy to begin with to help her deal. she came to me and begged me to get her out of there. So i looked into it (quietyly) and was told a 16 y/o has no say. I'm not in any way bringing this out in the open to cause a 3 ring circus. Nor am I going to complain to the state etc. I quietly made inquiries and told DD I could do nothing but keep her in therapy as long as she liked to help her vent.

amber3902's picture

>>I have NOTHING to go on. So we went to the therapist who said if your lawyer said it wont work, it wont work. <<

Unfortunately they are right. If your lawyer has said you don't have a case for changing custody, you don't have a case. You yourself said there is no abuse going on and they are not smoking pot in front of your DD, so there really isn't much you can do.

Like someone else said you can go to court and state that your EX's wife is on drugs and you don't want that around your daughter, however, you have to have PROOF. I don't know if a judge would take the word of a 16 year old that her dad's wife is smoking weed, and even if he did if that would cause for a change in custody.

I knew a guy whose BM was LIVING with a registered sex offender. He still couldn't get custody of his son.

amber3902's picture

HRNYC - Um, I just quoting what the OP said. SHE said her therapist said her lawyer said it wouldn't work, so I'm assuming they talked to a lawyer.

And not everyone would say stop making a 16 year old go to dad's because most people know you can't just violate court ordered visitation even if you suspect abuse.

There are ways to deal with a situation that do not involve taking the law into your own hands.

amber3902's picture

What doesn't make sense? Making a 16 do as they're told to do?

You better believe even if my 15 year old doesn't want to visit her dad I'm still going to make her go.

1. I'd be violating a court order if I did otherwise
2. Letting a teen not visit is setting an ugly precedent for when they don't "want" to do other things, i.e. go to school, get a job, etc.

EdgeOfReason's picture

"You really ought to refuse to get into discussions of what goes on in dad's house with your daughter, and just insist that she keeps the schedule. If she has problems with it, it is HER job to talk about it with him, without you egging her on."


SanAntonioSoccerMom's picture

I don't think any court would force a 16 year old to visit a home where there is drug use going on. My oldest SS refused to visit his "mom" around that age as well.

sandqueen's picture

Well, We went to family counseling and now she's in individual therapy. My DD has SEEN her with a joint in her hand and smells it on her regularly and has seen the butts in her van. My Ex admits she smokes it every day for arthritic pain. I am NOT going to violate a court order unless my daughter is at my feet crying and begging me. Yes, I spoke to my original lawyer and the therapist and told them it was my daughter's wish. And the lawyer said the judge will not even consider what a 16.5 y/o "wants". Do i feel badly, yeah I do, but for the sake of DD I am NOT making this into a 3 ring circus. Unless/until my DD says "I refuse to go" I am not going to start a battle. I was just wondering if there was any age at which a child could refuse or is it 18 and thats that?

amber3902's picture

To be blunt, yes, it's age 18 and thats that.

Your lawyer knows how the judges in your county rule, so I would definitely go by what he tells you. I know in some cases the older the child is the more the judge will take into consideration the child's wishes, but like your lawyer said, a judge will not change custody/visitation time if the ONLY reason is just because the 16 year old wants it changed.

over_the_rainbow's picture

I have to say, I agree that your DD needs to learn how to handle problems on her own, that is a life skill everyone needs to develop. I also have to add that telling her 'not my problem, you're on your own' will leave her feeling abandoned and alone. I've been in situations where I have asked for help (which is an extremely hard thing for me to do anyway) and was told 'not my problem, you're on your own' - I know what it feels like to ask for help and be given nothing. Find a happy medium - By all means don't try to solve all of her problems for her, but be there for her. It's great that you've provided her with counseling. Be a shoulder to cry on, be understanding, be supportive, but don't tell her what to do and how to handle this.

Just some examples - Instead of telling her 'I know you don't want to go and I wish you didn't have to' try saying 'Try to spend some quality time with your dad this weekend, just the two of you. Keep an open mind and enjoy your time with him.' We had a time when SD didn't want to see her BM because she was afraid her mom would be gone all weekend, and if BM was around at all she'd just get yelled at the whole time. Instead of saying I'm sorry you have to go, I told her to just make the best of it - if BM is gone spend time playing with the dogs. If BM is mad all weekend try asking her to play a game or something and see if that cheers her up. SD is 7, not a teenager, so it's a little different, but just a suggestion.