What age does a child need to be to decide to not visit the other non-custodial parent in divorced families? IE. They visit everyother weekend and Wed. for 2 hours. My daughter (almost 9) would like to stay with me instead of going to her dads.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/19/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My daughter would like to stay home instead of going to her fathers every other weekend. She is almost 9 years old. Her younger brother Braden likes to go. But she has asked for the last year when she will be able to decide if she wants to go or not. Does anyone know the age? Or had a similar experience. The children live with me and visit him every other weekend, on Wed for 2 hours and every other holiday.

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Michelle - posted on 01/19/2009

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It is pretty common about this age. My daughter went through a faze like this. I did let her skip a few times (after speaking with her dad and he didn't want to force her). Then I decided she needed to go to preserve her relationship with him. I told her she would have to talk to him and explain why she didn't want to and they worked it out. My friends daughter was doing alternate weeks at each parents house and 10 wanted to live with mom and see dad every other weekend. My friend had her daughter tell him herself and her and her ex worked it out the details. Try to have your daughter talk to her dad, and then maybe you and your ex can talk and come-up with a solution that keeps her close to her dad and lets her fell comfortable. Good Luck!

Kristy - posted on 09/13/2010

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depends what state you are in my neice was 9 and the coourt didnt make her go back to c her day because his wife was so mean to her in texas if they dnt want to go you dont have to make them the other parent has to take you back to court for contempt and 9 chances out of 10 yhey wont take you back to court

Michelle - posted on 11/15/2013

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The age limit to choose if the child wants to go or not is 12. Forcing the child to go see the other parent could lead to abandonment issues with the parent in custody and the trust and bond would be broken. If the child feels uncomfortable going to see their father/mother then you should absolutely not make them go!! Children have their own feelings and they have a choice in some matters and this is one of them.

Angie - posted on 09/13/2010

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Michelle is 100% right. I think the first thing you need to find out is why she doesn't like to go. Perhaps, he's more strict than you and she doesn't like that. Maybe he doesn't cook the foods she likes. Maybe she just wants to sleep in her own bed. Unless she is in danger I don't think this is a decision she should be making. Allowing her to stop visiting her dad may cause damage to their relationship and the day will soon come that she'll need her dad to give her guidance. It will also cause strain on your relationship and you need to keep that civil for the sake of your children. Shoot, my 9 year old wants me to let her watch tv during the school week but if it's not the right thing for her my answer is always, "what you want and what you get are two different things".

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Shawnn - posted on 04/04/2014

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I'd like to point out to mr. Prather: Owning guns does not an irresponsible parent make.

But nice of you to bash on your wife's ex, and try to put the focus on gun ownership, rather than the children.


You need to quit making this about how bad you think your wife's ex is, and make it about what's important for the development of the kids. If your wife's children wish to make a plea, have your wife request a guardian ad lietem for them.

Sinan - posted on 04/04/2014

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Why is it always the assumption that there is something wrong with the father? Why has no one entertained the idea that some custodial parents, often mothers, will coerce thee children, whether consciously or unconsciously, into not wanting to see the father.

Sorry, but unless the father is abusive, there is NO reason for the children not to visit their fathers. I suggest many here need to read up on Hostile Agressive Parenting, which is usually done by the custodial parent. It is now listed as child abuse.

Children will always see themselves as one half of their parents. It is not healthy at all for children to dislike or distance themselves from one parent. It will negatively impact that child for the rest of their lives. If they hate one of their parents, they will hate a part of themselves.

I suggest everyone get over themselves here and do what is best for the children. That seems to be what is missing here. If you child doesnt want to see the non custodial parent one of the first things you need to do, as the custodial parent, is to ask yourself if you have done things that might have encouraged this response in your children.

Sinan - posted on 04/04/2014

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Why is it always the assumption that there is something wrong with the father? Why has no one entertained the idea that some custodial parents, often mothers, will coerce thee children, whether consciously or unconsciously, into not wanting to see the father.

Sorry, but unless the father is abusive, there is NO reason for the children not to visit their fathers. I suggest many here need to read up on Hostile Agressive Parenting, which is usually done by the custodial parent. It is now listed as child abuse.

Children will always see themselves as one half of their parents. It is not healthy at all for children to dislike or distance themselves from one parent. It will negatively impact that child for the rest of their lives. If they hate one of their parents, they will hate a part of themselves.

I suggest everyone get over themselves here and do what is best for the children. That seems to be what is missing here. If you child doesnt want to see the non custodial parent one of the first things you need to do, as the custodial parent, is to ask yourself if you have done things that might have encouraged this response in your children.

Jennifer - posted on 01/20/2014

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Children can't decide to stop seeing the other parent, at least not in Illinois. Unless court ordered. You need to make her go. Tell her everything will be ok, let her call you if there are issues, never talk bad about the other parent, ask the other parent to meet with the child for a meal at first then work back into the regular visits.. See if he will go to counseling with her.. You can't or shouldn't allow her to stop the visits unless he is abusive..

Bryan - posted on 01/13/2014

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Seems to me that most people assume its just a phase kids go through. Our two are absolutely afraid of their father. He has a terrible temper. My wife got a restraining order put on him for one year when he followed them home aggressively from exchanging the kids. Police went to his home and confiscated a boat load of ammo, and Ak 47 assault rifle and two other guns. He has been arrested before concealing a gun illegally and I do not know what led to that arrest being made. One week after his restraining order he threatened me aggresively inside the court room at a hearing to get his guns back and guess what? The judge gave it them back! We live in NC. The girls are 11 and 14. They started begging us to please let them talk to a judge. They do not want to see him. He has never harmed them physically because he knows how far he can push the law. He does the same with me by not using the words fight or hit when he confronts me verbally in public therefore making it hard to get him charged with communicating a threat. I am very disappointed in the justice system when it comes to advocating for kids. We have asked for a hearing to modify the visitation and fight for what the girls want. We have never encouraged them nor coerced in any way to do this. In fact we have done the opposite and tried to make it work. They don't even want to have his name as their last name. They are smart girls, very mature and very little trouble. We do not allow them free reign when it comes to important decisions. We are parents very involved in our girls lives. The judge we have that will hear our case has told attorneys before, "don't you all bring kids into my courtroom." While I can understand this, at the same time how else can they be heard? Video interview by judge? Yes, but do you think the father will agree to that? No way. We have no issue with it. So do we risk pissing off the judge so the girls can be heard? They deserve the right to be heard. Why should they be silenced because they are kids? We can't speak for them because it is hearsay unless they say it themselves. Isn't that wonderful. These are not kids acting like spoiled brats. The father hasn't paid child support in three years and is trying to get disability. As long as he keeps getting and appealing the turn downs on disability, he doesn't have to pay anything. He is thousands behind. I personally don't need his money but the law says he is to pay and he works the system to keep manipulating everything. He has continually said to the girls that a judgement day is coming. The judges evidently don't think thats a big deal. He said he would hunt my wife down one day and blow her fng brains out. That doesn't matter either. He still gets his visits and even has a contempt charge on us becasue we were on vacation that we told him about during the summer and he missed one weekend of his visit. He is suing us for attorney fees as well and retained the most expensive atty in the county. We really don't know what to do. I kind of feel like our atty is not aggressive enough. He says that it is very unlikely the judge will stop the visits. This isn't a phase and its not two little girls not getting their way. It is very serious. We fear for them, I fear for my wife, and it looks like things will go in his favor more than theirs. Any help? We are in NC. Our hearing is in 30 days. Please and thank you anyone.

Bryan - posted on 01/13/2014

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Seems to me that most people assume its just a phase kids go through. Our two are absolutely afraid of their father. He has a terrible temper. My wife got a restraining order put on him for one year when he followed them home aggressively from exchanging the kids. Police went to his home and confiscated a boat load of ammo, and Ak 47 assault rifle and two other guns. He has been arrested before concealing a gun illegally and I do not know what led to that arrest being made. One week after his restraining order he threatened me aggresively inside the court room at a hearing to get his guns back and guess what? The judge gave it them back! We live in NC. The girls are 11 and 14. They started begging us to please let them talk to a judge. They do not want to see him. He has never harmed them physically because he knows how far he can push the law. He does the same with me by not using the words fight or hit when he confronts me verbally in public therefore making it hard to get him charged with communicating a threat. I am very disappointed in the justice system when it comes to advocating for kids. We have asked for a hearing to modify the visitation and fight for what the girls want. We have never encouraged them nor coerced in any way to do this. In fact we have done the opposite and tried to make it work. They don't even want to have his name as their last name. They are smart girls, very mature and very little trouble. We do not allow them free reign when it comes to important decisions. We are parents very involved in our girls lives. The judge we have that will hear our case has told attorneys before, "don't you all bring kids into my courtroom." While I can understand this, at the same time how else can they be heard? Video interview by judge? Yes, but do you think the father will agree to that? No way. We have no issue with it. So do we risk pissing off the judge so the girls can be heard? They deserve the right to be heard. Why should they be silenced because they are kids? We can't speak for them because it is hearsay unless they say it themselves. Isn't that wonderful. These are not kids acting like spoiled brats. The father hasn't paid child support in three years and is trying to get disability. As long as he keeps getting and appealing the turn downs on disability, he doesn't have to pay anything. He is thousands behind. I personally don't need his money but the law says he is to pay and he works the system to keep manipulating everything. He has continually said to the girls that a judgement day is coming. The judges evidently don't think thats a big deal. He said he would hunt my wife down one day and blow her fng brains out. That doesn't matter either. He still gets his visits and even has a contempt charge on us becasue we were on vacation that we told him about during the summer and he missed one weekend of his visit. He is suing us for attorney fees as well and retained the most expensive atty in the county. We really don't know what to do. I kind of feel like our atty is not aggressive enough. He says that it is very unlikely the judge will stop the visits. This isn't a phase and its not two little girls not getting their way. It is very serious. We fear for them, I fear for my wife, and it looks like things will go in his favor more than theirs. Any help? We are in NC. Our hearing is in 30 days. Please and thank you anyone.

Shawnn - posted on 11/15/2013

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@ Michelle Lions:

The age in the area the YOU live in may be twelve. The age in other areas is 10. In still other areas, its 13.

Each state in the US differs in age requirements, and each country on earth differs as well. By making blanket statements, you could mistakenly mislead someone.

Angela - posted on 09/12/2010

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It depends on the state in which you reside. You need to look at the parenting time guidelines. you should be able to obtain a free pamphlet at your local courthouse in the juvenile court section. if it is not available, ask the clerk and they should be able to direct you.

Julie - posted on 09/12/2010

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Hi Elizabeth you need to find out why your daughter does not wish to go is she picking up signals from you, In the states I believe you have school councillors it maybe an idea to get their help as she may open up to them why she no wish's to go as for what age it would depend on the maturity of the child rather than the chronological age. In a court situation a child of 10 or more would be asked what they want their feeling are taken into consideration the norm is once she can understand the implications of her actions of not wanting to see her father anymore then that would probably be time to except her feeling, Have you disgussed the problem with the x are you still joint parenting if you can't do this then again I would disguss the problem with the school the have access to trained professionels who can help you with this problem.

with love and light Amethyst

Marissa - posted on 01/20/2009

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I think the legal age is 12, however, my daughter is almost 9 and if she has something going on...a family function, a birthday party, etc. Her "other dad" is great about being flexible and rescheduling...But, I can see the problems with having two that go at once and you would feel that you never have both of them home the same time if your son goes on his weekend and then you daughter the following. Is there any specific reason why she doesn't want to go? maybe she could just go for day visits on the weekend and not stay overnight. My little girl doesn't want to stay and her dad's overnight, her grandparents, her friends or anything right now. I can really just be a "I want my mommy" stage. She is getting older and has a lot of change going on in her body, head etc and just wants to still feel little. (not talking puberty changes, just emotional getting older changes). :)

Carolyn - posted on 01/19/2009

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Hi Elizabeth, where abouts are you from? I am kind of going through something similar, my daughter is 7 and spends every other weekend with her dad and extra time during holidays. Here in Australia the age used to be 12 but now the family law states that it depends on the child as each child can be different, so any age can be considered. Have you spoken to your daughter about any problems she may be having going there, perhaps maybe only spending a few hours with him

Dalane - posted on 01/19/2009

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Hi Elizabeth

Michelle's advice is correct, but just to add to it... in most western countries the age is usually 12 however courts adjust that dependent on the maturity of the individual child.

I'd recommend not doing the court thing if it can be avoided as it can be very traumatic for everyone. If you are on good/reasonable terms with her dad talk with him about what's happening. It could just be a phase your daughter is going through... my daughter is 11 and is doing that at the moment... not becasue she doesn't want to see her dad but because she wants to spend more time with me on her own and without all the bustle that goes on at her dad's.

Have you talked with her on her own about why she doesn't want to go?

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