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Thread: Child Access Laws. Need info badly

  1. #1

    Question Child Access Laws. Need info badly

    I need to find out at what age a child has the right to say if she wants to go to her fathers or not each fortnight.



    My son is happy to go but my daughter crys all week prior to the access weekend. It is heartbreaking to watch her like this. She says its not her dad its her dads girlfriends kids. They hurt her and she really seems to be unable to take it anymore.

    Any advice??

  2. #2

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    Someone told us that children as young as 8 can make those sorts of decisions now if its agreed to in court, but I'm not sure that it's correct. Google "family relationships online" and you will find a heap of government info plus a help line that you can call.

  3. #3

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    I heard it was 14, but I could be wrong (likely). Is it different between the states or the same everywhere?

  4. #4

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    I had a lawyer (different than my usual one) go OFF at me for speaking to my very mature 5 year old about access visits. She said "The court will be so angry at your for discussing it with her"
    I said what the F***?? Its all about HER, of course I will talk to her about it!!

    I don't think they have a say til around 12, the argument is that they're minds arent mature enough to understand the situation properly and parents can influence their descisions too much

  5. #5

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    Im not sure but if your dd is that upset then Id say to your ex that she doesnt want to go because of the other kids. Maybe tell him she isnt coming if they are there. Do they live there or just come and stay. Im sure if they dont live there then the courts would understand that she is hurting and doesnt want to be there with the other kids.

  6. #6
    kerry Guest

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    I think in Vic it is 12 but the feelings of the child are considered from an earlier range, also as kids differ and develop at different rates how much attention the court pays depends on the child themselves.

    How old are the children hurting your daughter?

    Would it be possible to get an restraining order against these kids?

    IMO, I would not make her go, if she is as traumatised as you say I would just tell your X that until the issue is resolved you will not be making your daughter attend access visits. BUT when doing this I would be offering the X some alternatives and making sure that it he knows it isn't him you are objecting to... ok let me think... maybe even suggest a combined 'family' meeting with you (your partner), X, his partner and all the kids.... set some rules, everyone who wants to say something can and when they are talking others wont be allowed to interupt, when you are talking you aren't allowed to be mean or nasty to others, etc.... maybe it is something that can be easily resolved.

    This sounds like some major bullying and it needs to stop.

    ETA: In VIC access to both parents is the RIGHT OF THE CHILD (not the parent). It is also the child's right to be proved with a safe environment. From what you have said your X is not providing a safe environment for your DD which means she can not exicute her right to see him. He needs to address the issue. I would definately be ringing family services / legal aid for some advice.

    I have told my X that he can not have access to our DD while he has his other son there. We have had attempts at smothering, knocking over or pushing down back steps of our DD and even attempts to stab her. I do allow him to see her when he has his son if I am also there for a few hours but that's it. It is hard because atm my DD adores her big brother even though he is awful to her. My X keeps threatening to take me to court over this issue but lucky for me I know it is just vacant threats.
    Last edited by kerry; March 29th, 2007 at 11:40 AM.

  7. #7

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    Hiya.... as far as I know it's 14, but the child has to undergo some kind of independent assessment/ counselling before it can become enforceable. If you ring the family court i'm sure they would know.
    good luck.... lots of kids in split families go through this . Mine have both done it at different times over the past 9 yrs. My daughter didn't want to go because her Dad was always at work when she was there and he always promised to do stuff with her and then let her down. Nowdays, they go when they want, she's 14 nearly 15 and my son is 18. Their dad lives 300k's away which makes it easy for them not to go unless it suits them.
    xxx

  8. #8

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    I just had a a thought... if his new girlfiends's kids are the problem , are they on weekend access with their father? Maybe yours could go on th opposite weekend? Time to talk to your X maybe?
    xx

  9. #9
    kerry Guest

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    Good idea annie.... didn't even think about that.

  10. #10

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    Go and see a family lawyer.

  11. #11

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    Deffinately if you havent already try talking to her father in a calm relaxed environment if thats not possible ask for a family councelling session somewhere where your daughter is not going to feel threatened,

    I dont quite know how to say this with out causing offence but I have seen the damage this can do on the other side ie the dad, obviously different circumstances and I am absolutely in no way assuming you have not tried other options, and I can imagine as a mum my self how heartbreaking it must be for you to send her there, if her dad is not willing to be reasonalble then he does not deserve the right to have her come and stay, however if he is willing to try and make her comfortable and put her needs first then trying to work it out is by far the best option especially if its not directly her dad at fault here.
    Good luck I hope it gets sorted quickly and nicely for you I know this sort of thing can be really messy and I feel for your little girl she must be feeling so much stress to be crying so much before a visit and thats just not fair on her at all.

  12. #12

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    Hi there,
    I support Divvy's suggestion that you seek urgent legal advice from a solicitor practising in family law.
    You will be advised by your solicitor that such matters vary from child to child depending on a variety of factors. There is no hard and fast rule.
    The lawyer will give you advice about your legal options which may include but may bot be limited to court action, and/or family relationship counselling.
    The staff at the Family Court are unfortunately not able to give people in your position legal advice.
    In the meantime, have you considered the possibility of therapeutic assistance for your daughter such as counselling just for her to assist with her distress - perhaps you could secure a referral to a school counsellor and/or counsellor from your GP?
    You may be then presented with an opportunity to discuss the outcome of such counselling with your ex (after receiving advice from the counsellor on how to approach the matter to cause minimal distress to all concerned).
    Good luck.

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