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Amber E.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience:  Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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I wanted to know if once my daughter turned twelve does she

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I wanted to know if once my daughter turned twelve does she have to still go visit her dad even if she doesn't want to any more?

Ordinarily, a parent cannot defy the order simply because of the child's wishes. Defying a court order could subject a parent to a motion and finding of contempt, which might result in the other parent being awarded court costs, attorney fees, and additional custodial time to make up for any time lost. A pattern of contempt could also result in a change in custody. I say "ordinarily," because some plans actually do allow a child to make that decision; it is rare, but if the parents agreed to it in advance and that is in the plan, then of course a parent can elect that option. It is important to read the plan from beginning to end, because it alone dictates the rules and law that apply - including the scope of what a parent can and cannot do.


Now, that said, a parent can retain an attorney and seek to modify a court order based upon a change in circumstances. That change might include the child's preference (which the court will certainly consider), but that is only one factor. A child's preference is never a determining factor no matter how old they are, however, because the court is bound to consider everything affecting the child's well being in deciding what is in that child's best interests.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just don't think that's right because she is old enough to speak for her self now and her dad does not spend time with her and is very upset when she has to go because her dad picks her up and leaves her with her grandmother which she is not crazy about the way she treats and talks to her so what would I be looking at paying for a lawyer since I really don't make much money but at the same time I'm tired of her fighting me or seeing her upset(crying) when she has to go with her dad please help me out I just don't know what to do

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to represent individuals ourselves or provide legal advice, and we cannot make specific referrals. What I can tell you is that if you do not make much money, then you may qualify for assistance through your local legal aid office. They provide free legal representation to low income individuals, and cases involving children are high on the priority list. Among the services offered are modifications of custody decrees, and as said above the child's preference is a factor the court will consider.

Another factor the court may consider is a parent's leaving the child with a non parent on a regular basis. That too, in fact, might be deemed a violation of the order, because most plans state that the child is supposed to be with a parent during those times (except when the parent is working). And of course any form of verbal or emotional abuse would be unacceptable. Depending on the severity, might even result in a suspension of visitation.

If you are not able to get assistance through legal aid, you can always retain an attorney for limited representation - meaning, advice and assisting with the drafting of the paperwork. As for the cost involved, $3500 might be a good estimate for full representation, based upon the information you have provided, but ultimately what an attorney charges for full or limited representation varies considerably on the attorney, his or her caseload, skill and experience, and the particulars of the case. Lastly, if you must pursue a matter like this on your own, you can contact the clerk of court (some courts have forms or a self help desk available).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok that explains a little more so what your saying is if over all if he's not spending time with her I can have visitation changed but would I have to have proof in court regarding him not spending time with her or just with my daughter saying so would be enough

The child's testimony is evidence, so that is one form of proof. Other proof might include the testimony of other witnesses - the grandmother, friends, neighbors, anyone who might have information to support the allegations can be subpoenaed and made to testify. It is difficult to say whether the child's testimony alone would be enough, only the judge can make that determination; but, any party who brings a case before the court wants to have all the supporting evidence available. If it is just he said/she said, then the court will make a determination based upon the credibility of the testimony available.

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