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Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44191
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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My niece ran away from home and doesn't want to go back home

Customer Question

My niece ran away from home and doesn't want to go back home to her mother . She is 14 years , 15 in September . There is a police investigation against her father . We are not stopping her from seeing her mother ( my sister ) . What are her rights as to not wanting to go back home and how can my husband and I support her decision legally ? We have already paid for her to go to school , but her mother keeps threatening to pull her out . I look forward to ur reply Tia
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 2 years ago.
Good Evening, My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.At the age of*****will listen to her regarding where she wants to live. If her parents want her back they have to make an application with the court. Are you willing to support her and have her live with you? If so you can apply for court orders and she can support the application. Here is some information about a childs right to choose. Until 1974, children had ‘the right’ to choose which parent they lived with at age 14. Since the Family Law Act came into effect in 1975, there has been no hard and fast rule. The Family Court now looks at a number of factors in deciding with which parent a child shall live. There is a presumption that it is in the interests of a child to spend as much time as possible with both parents. That is called a “rebuttable presumption” in that it is a starting point, but many factors are considered before the Court will make such an Order. The wishes of the child are important. Equally important are the reasons for the Child stating those wishes, and also considerations such as the Child’s age, maturity and level of understanding. There is little point asking a 4 year old, no matter how bright the parents may think the child is. At the other end of the scale, the Court generally looks dimly on a Parent who demands a 16 year old be told by the Court with whom they shall live. There is no magical age. The 8 year old should normally be asked, however the Court is not bound by what they say. It is a factor to be weighed-up. A 14-15 year old will normally have their wishes granted, so long as they are expressed to be for the appropriate reasons. One case allowed 2 children (8 and 10 years old - sister & brother) to decide that they wanted to stop living with one parent and start living with the other because the other parent provided proper accommodation, took them to school, put shoes on their feet, and fed them as one would expect to feed children that age. Very basic needs which were not being met adequately by the first parent. At the other end of the scale, a 16 year old child with a significant mental impairment will be asked, however if the Court is not convinced that their wishes are actually in their best interests, other factors will take priority. The Court specifically looks at the attitude of each parent towards the task of parenting, whether the parents are able to provide adequately for the child and whether a parent will actively promote the relationship between the Child and the other parent. The Court prefers not to separate Children where possible. Violence, drug and alcohol abuse are also considered.I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If there is nothing further thank you for using my services. If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask. Please do not forget to leave positive feedback. RegardsLeon