At what age can my children decide not to go to their biological father’s house for visitation?
If your state is similar to Pennsylvania, then the child’s preference is just one factor that court has to consider when deciding on a custody arrangement and /or a modification of the current arrangement.
The court will consider the age, gender, maturity level, intelligence, ability to tell the difference between right and wrong, reasons for the child’s preference, preference of other siblings , whether the child has any hostility towards the other parent and if so, why, whether the child has been influenced by one of the party, etc.
Additionally, a child does not have the right to decide when he /she no longer has to visit with the other parent. If your state is similar to Pennsylvania, then the court should hold the custodial parent responsible for ensuring the minor child/children see the noncustodial parents according the custody schedule.
Most judges understand that once a child reaches their teens (14 /15 /16 /17), it certainly is difficult to force them to visit with a noncustodial parent when they are adamant about not seeing them, but it truly is not the child’s decision.
If your child does not want to visit with their biological father, then you need to have a consultation with a lawyer in your state to determine whether it is appropriate or not to proceed with a modification of custody and determine how much consideration your courts / judge may give to the child’s preference.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”