Can my 14 year old son decide what parent he wants to live with?

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Can my 14 year old son decide what parent he wants to live with?

I have a “parental agreement” that was signed by a judge 11 years ago for visitations with his dad and he has been mistreated several times this year and my son does not want to visit him anytime soon. His dad has now filed a contempt of court scheduled in 2 months.

Asked on November 19, 2012 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that trying to make a 14 year old do what they don't want to do, can be a near impossible task. However, as long as the custody order is in effect, you and your son are bound by it. While a child's preference of where to live is given great wieght, it is not the sole determining factor in such a case. Once in court, you can try to get the custody order modified. The judge will look to just what is in your son's the best interests. And certainly, mistreatment will play a major role here; it will definitely be a factor that the court will consider in making its determination. To prepare for the hearing, gather all evidence of the mistreatment (i.e. photos, witness statements, etc) and bring them with you. In the meantime, if you feel that this mistreatment is of a severe enough nature so as to put your son's safety at risk, you can file for a protective order; this will prohibit your child's father from having contact with your son.


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