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At what age to kids finally have a "voice?"

Started by sand_castle, Jan 16, 2004, 11:11:18 AM

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Hi, I'm new here... and appreciate all the help I could get.

I'm marrying an amazing father of a 9 y/o girl...  Who's mom is just a horrible person.  She tells us mom grills her, intimidates & controls her, even tells her what to say.  She sees mom fight with everyone from current (3rd) husband's ex, to us, and who knows who else.  Mom has full custody & we have visitation every other w/end Sat. & Sun... NO overnights.  She says she wants to spend the night but is afraid to ask mom.  He's contemplating going back to court to increase visitation / maybe joint custody??  Will his daughter have a voice at 9??  I'm sure if they just talked to her there would be no question that she needs some stability & tranquility in her life, and that she'll only get it from us.  Is there another route we could take?  What are our rights being that he only has visitation??


You can always ask for more visitaion.
As for her 'voice' most judges do not listen to children untill they are at least 12, depending on your state, and then it should be in the form of a letter to the judge. Depends on the maturity of the child in question if they listen to them then.

Dr. D

At age 9, MANY (not all) Judges will take into consideration the words of the child.  You would be best served waiting until after the wedding to pursue this however.  

Anytime, you have a parent with custody and one that is using the child, you will deal with a great deal of bantering back and forth.  Make sure you have all your "eggs in a row", know the desire of the child, and make sure your own relationship is truly solid.  Then, get a good attorney.

Dr. D


Hi there,

Sorry to hear of the difficulties with your stepdaughter's mom.

Obviously, always act in the best interest of this child.

I strongly suggest that you and your soon-to-be-husband read a book called, "Divorce Poison" by Richard Warshak.  It'll give you some proactive steps to take with this situation.

Your marriage constitutes a "significant change in circumstances" compared to the conditions present when the original custody order was made.  If dad has truly been "amazing," you probably won't have much difficulty get court orders for overnights to begin... and that's likely without the judge talking to the girl.

Also, after the stress and commotion of the wedding dies down, do consult with an attorney in your area.  Unless dad has a huge skeleton in his closet (e.g., drug/alcohol abuse, molestation, etc), it sounds like amending the custody arrangement could be very beneficial for his daughter.

Attorney would have best advice on approach and timing.