Custody of Children - Daughter Does Not Want to Visit?

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Barry Brazier

4 August 2014
Family court orders specify that my 12-year-old daughter and her 6-year-old brother must stay with me 5 nights a fortnight. That has been successful for the past two years, but now my daughter says she does not want to stay with me at all. Her mother says if I do not agree to allow her to stay full-time with her mother (only 5 km away) that my daughter will seek legal advice and try to have the orders changed.

The problems I think I know that she has with me is my age (I am 72), my new wife who is Chinese (speaks only Chinese) and my lack of money. In addition to the small amount of child support I pay to her mother I do pay her and her broth's catholic school fees, and uniforms and all other school related expenses (ipad, etc). I pay all sporting cost such as Swimming club. Foot ball club, Basketball club, bicycle racing club and related equipment . I also pay $100 for her hairdresser ever two months.

As a teacher, I help her with her maths school work. I provide home entertainment with trampoline at home, and at my weekend farm, swimming pool, tennis courts a pony and other animals. I have never hit either of the kids and I am quiet spoken, non-smoker, non-drinker and rarely swear. But I am also non religious. My kids go to catholic school and are Bahai faith. I know her mother would be happy with her staying full-time with her. I had to fight in court to get the access I have.

Does she have the right to seek a change to the court orders? Should I force her to obey the existing court orders?

What should I do?


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
First thing's first, the mother does have a right to seek a change to the court orders, but when final orders are made, it generally takes a significant change in circumstances to amend them.

Second, should you force her to obey the existing orders? In short, no. You can't (and shouldn't) force her to obey orders because the orders force her to obey orders. If the mother refuses to facilitate the child's time with you and does not have reasonable grounds to do so, you can file a contravention.

The third thing to consider is that if the mother pursues a change of orders, the child's opinion about the situation will likely be considered, but the child's opinion is given only some weight, not all.

But as I am a fierce advocate for avoiding courts, so I'd also like to give you some other possible options.

It sounds to me like the mother may be jumping the gun a bit by trying to go straight to court and creating conflict that may potentially be unnecessary.

My advice is to first talk to your daughter about why she doesn't want to spend time with you. At 12, she may be hormonal and going through a teenage identity crisis of feeling unwanted or not fitting in. Perhaps she simply has a boy or friends nearby to her mum's that she likes. You don't know unless you ask and at that age, the last thing your daughter probably wants is more litigation.

If things get worse, please feel free to come back and ask some more questions. :)