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Is it likely for a 12 year old to be granted permission by the court to visit non-custodial parent when he/she chooses?

Joliet, IL |

My child has been dancing for over 10 years and training at a pre-professional dance school for the last four years. She has ambitions of becoming a professional dancer/prima ballerina. Her non-custodial parent has repeatedly caused her to miss mandatory rehearsals and threatened to pull her out of each performance at the last minute. The dance school is now requiring that we both sign a commitment form as this has caused complications with casting. Her non-custodial parent has refused to sign and she is very upset. She wants to ask a judge if she can decide when she visits her non-custodial parent. "If my (non-custodial parent) can cancel on me, why can't I cancel on (non-custodial parent)?" When do minors have a right to voice themselves and be heard in court?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

You need to get into court quickly for a modification of parenting, and possibly termination of joint parenting. In Will County, A GAL will most likely be appointed to investigate and report back to the court what is in the child's best interests. Some Will County judges will speak directly to children and others will not. You will also be ordered to mediation. Hire a strong attorney and get this matter addressed ASAP. Your daughter's entire future may be affected.

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Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

You just have to read the comments below Judy.

Posted

I agree with counsel. You are likely going to be forced to get the court to intervene to either compel compliance or change the parenting time schedule to accommodate only you with her dancing.

Disclaimer: This email message in no way creates an attorney client relationship between Majeski Law, LLC and the recipient. Responses are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. You should consult a lawyer regarding any specific legal matter.

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Posted

By his not dining you have a basis to go in and modify the parenting agreement. Hire a lawyer who handles visitation issues and get to court ASAP. You do not want your daughter to suffer due to the other parent.

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Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

*agreeing

Gary L. Schlesinger

Gary L. Schlesinger

Posted

but under the charous case, mom cannot plan activities on dad's time without his agreement. that is the law. dad need not agree to this if he does not want to. i doubt the court can force him to. however, his not signing will perhaps destroy his relationship with his daughter. i represented last year a similarly situated dad. if he did all mom wanted him to, he would never see the child. the judge brokered a compromise. mom has not followed the compromise. dad has given up. very very sad.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Do you have the citation on that case? I am representing a dad in that predicament right now due to ice skating.

Posted

I agree with the other answers, but I would just add: Kids don't make these kinds of decisions . . . adults do. It would be wrong to put her in the position of determining when visitation will and will not happen. She doesn't get to decide whether or when she goes to school, rehearsal, etc.

The burden falls to you -- the custodial PARENT -- to take action. Hire a lawyer and get to court. It's not pleasant, but it's not too difficult. get it done.

Questions? Call -- 312-987-9999 -- no charge, no obligation Matrimonial / Family Law free consultation.

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Posted

I've noticed most of the answers given advice you to take action immediately. Maybe you should. However, let me relay to you a recent experience I've had, and an alternative view.

The chances of your daughter becoming a prima ballerina and making a decent living at it is nearly zero. That being said, perhaps you should consider that your child's dad is averse to ballet for a good reason. For example, it is widely recognized that ballet forces women into unhealthy body types if they want any chance at success; perhaps the almost totally predictable pressure your daughter will feel to develop an eating disorder should be a more immediate concern than her unrealistic career expectations. Or, perhaps your child's father feels the dancing in harmful to his visitation and relationship with your daughter. As a child, your daughter is likely to have an unrealistic vision of her future, and the importance of her relationship with her dad.

Judges often avoid speaking to minors, and instead appointing a child's representative or guardian ad litem to speak to minor children.

If you take this issue to court, your result could be surprising, and disappointing. The judge may feel your daughter is overbooked and that her father should prevail, not you.

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7 comments

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Asker please call me and I will discuss the above comments with you . Please excuse these remarks.

David K. Wolkowitz

David K. Wolkowitz

Posted

Asker, Please do not excuse my remarks. Avoiding points of view that may differ from one's own isn't normally a good idea.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Your comments to the Asker were not grounded in law nor fact but in your own personal opinion.

David K. Wolkowitz

David K. Wolkowitz

Posted

Unfortunately, what is not grounded in fact is your critique of my comments. I have in fact witnessed scenarios that I described, and therefore, my answer was grounded in fact. Further, it is wholly appropriate to share opinion on this site, and therefore, your critique of my answer on the grounds that it is opinion is highly curious, at best. Using the phrase "not grounded in law nor fact" may be common lawyer-speak, but it is not valid criticism of my answer.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Look counsel I do not want to split hairs with you. Although what lawyer doesn't love a spirited debate , right? I am just kind of trying to get you into the swing of how this site works that's all.

Rhonda Arlene Stuart

Rhonda Arlene Stuart

Posted

I have been practicing for 20 years, and I agree with some of Mr. Wolkowitz's points. First, we need more information. Do her activities routinely interfere with dad's visitation? The scenario painted by the poster gives the impression that dad is just refusing to take her to dance because he is being obstinate. Maybe there are other valid reasons. Second, a 12-year-old, as a general rule, cannot speak to the court. I've had a judge actually request an in camera hearing with minor children, but they were older and there were serious issues. Third, while I probably would not have been so blunt, I am familiar with the dance world. Whether one makes it in ballet is about skill, dedication and body type. Many girls have feet that are completely ruined and starve themselves to look the part. Even still, very few will make it to prima status. At her age she should be practicing 30 hours a week, which, as I indicated above, might be the dad's issue. I do not agree that she should hire an attorney right away and rush to court. I think maybe mom needs to take a step back and figure out whether she is pushing daughter's ambitions at the expense of pushing dad out of the picture. Again, none of us really has enough information to answer this question, but I do agree that there is more than one way to look at the situation.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

And Asker your daughter could indeed become a world class dancer. My friend's daughter (the child of two family law lawyers) with a very different body type went on to dance all over the world and was chosen as one of six dancers to honor Baryshnikov by dancing at the Kennedy Center Honors.

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