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NSW Family Court - When Can Children Decided Where to Live?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Faniel Shawe, 11 April 2016.

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  1. Faniel Shawe

    Faniel Shawe Member

    11 April 2016
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    I have a family court parenting order for contact with my 14.5-year-old son, who is in my care for 96 nights a year. He lives with his mother and her partner, 2000Kms away. My son spends half of the school holidays with me in my home, and I travel to spend an extended weekend with him three times each school term from after school on Friday until the commencement of School on Tuesday. I have been doing this for 12 years, since he was 2 years old.

    There has been growing tension between my son and his mother since he reached puberty, which I guess is to be expected, but she does have a very rigid and controlling approach to parenting, insists on him going to church with her every week (which he hates) and keeps a very close eye on him all the time. His friends say they don't want to go to his house with him because of his mother.

    Recently he did something that she was not happy about and she banned him from playing computer games for the whole term, which was a huge bone of contention for him. He finds his home life very stifling.

    This afternoon when I spoke with him on the phone, he asked if I knew when he would be able to decide where he can live and if I thought that he might be able to come and live with me in Sydney. I would be delighted if this happened, but do not want to coach him in any way to do this. I said that he needed to think about it very carefully, because sometimes the "grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, but might not be".

    I was not trying to put him off the idea, but just perhaps slow it down a little so that it is not a spur of the moment thing. I have absolutely no problem with him coming to live with me, and would be happy to facilitate flexible, meaningful and substantial contact between him and his mother if it were to happen.

    I ended the conversation saying that I would try and find out at what age he could make such a decision, and what the process would be. The current parenting order expires on 20 October this year. Can you please help me with this information or direct me to some resources which might help?
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Generally speaking, the Court will give significant weight to the opinion of a child aged about 12 years or above. A family consultant is usually appointed to determine what the child's wishes are, but it's also common for kids of that age to vote with their feet.
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    Just checking - you have court orders that have an expiry date? That seems a bit weird.

    I reckon you're gonna need to talk to the ex (I know - I know I hate having to do that too), Maybe suggest a 6-month trial. You need to think of all of the consequences. Changing schools at 14 can be hard.

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