Hi, my ex wife has only been given 6 months to live she has cancer. My soon to be 13 y.o son lives with her at the moment. We have 50/50 custody and I have access with my son every 2nd weekend. My ex wife has told me that our son is old enough to decide where he wants to live and that he will be living with her mother. I want to take care of my son, and I know they have already discussed this with my son, which is going to make things worse. The questions i have are;
1. Can my son legally decide where to live?
2. What are my rights if my son refuses to move from his grandparents house?
3. Would i have to pay child support to the Grandparent
4. What do you suggest i do to prepare legally.
Thank you kindly
State/Country relating to question: Australia
I live in Melbourne Victoria, Australia.
The court can make orders about where your son lives at 13, however his wishes in relation to that will be given significant weight. His wishes are not the sole determining factor as the court has to make orders that are in his best interests.
If the court ordered that he live with you and he refused to leave the grandparents, you would have to consider whether you bring a contravention application in the court for the grandparents breaching the order. They would have an obligation to encourage the child to spend time with you as the order provides.
If the child lives with the grandparents they could apply for a child support assessment against you.
To prepare I suggest that you bring up the issue of counselling with the Mother and the grandparents for your son. He will need to have someone independent to talk to about these issues and help him ultimately deal with his grief on the passing of his mother. You should contact your closest family relationship centre (find it at www.familyrelationships.gov.au to find our services that are available to assist you)
Bachelor of Laws (QUT), BIT (QUT), Family Law Accredited Specialist, over 12 years experience
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