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What age in Washington state can a child choose what parent they want to live with??

Bothell, WA |

Child will be 13 soon and dad has decided to forfeit visitation until further notice. What do I do?? I find it ridiculous he can have a "selfish phase" whenever he wants, but I'm sitting here fearing "contempt" charges if I don't bring the child down. HELP!!

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

18.

It is a common misperception that children in Wa. state have a right to choose with which parent they want to live -- THAT RIGHT DOES NOT EXIST. Child custody issues are solely within the province of a Judge and the child's parents. Children are never allowed to dictate in Wa. courts as to what they want in domestic relations matters. A child may tell a guardian ad litem or parenting evaluator with whom they would prefer to live, and that evaluator may then advise the court of the same, but the court is not obliged to accede to that request -- children do not have that power in Wa. state. They are subject to the courts order as to what is in their best interest. Somehow, somewhere , the notion that children can choose seeped into the public zeitgeist if you will, but it has never been the law in Wa. that children can choose. It's a good lesson to learn: do not listen to individuals who are not licensed to practice law because as the saying goes -- bad advice is always free.

The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.

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10 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr Hawkins. Now what do I do this weekend since its his weekend and all I have is an email that says don't bring her down, this is not a game I don't want her....

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr Hawkins. Now what do I do this weekend since its his weekend and all I have is an email that says don't bring her down, this is not a game I don't want her....

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr Hawkins. Now what do I do this weekend since its his weekend and all I have is an email that says don't bring her down, this is not a game I don't want her....

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr Hawkins. Now what do I do this weekend since its his weekend and all I have is an email that says don't bring her down, this is not a game I don't want her....

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Excellent explanation counsel.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr Hawkins. Now what do I do this weekend since its his weekend and all I have is an email that says don't bring her down, this is not a game I don't want her....

Dave Hawkins

Dave Hawkins

Posted

Does the PP specify that you ave to provide transportation?

Asker

Posted

Yes sir. But his email is very clear as to not bring the child down, do not contact him unless his support is late. Etc, etc

Dave Hawkins

Dave Hawkins

Posted

It doesn't matter what he says, it matters what the court order specifies -- he does not control you. If you are to deliver the child to him, drive down and wait. Advise him beforehand that you will wait 30 minutes. If he does not appear at the designated time, return home and file a a petition to modify the PP and request reimbursement. Your petition can suspend visitation for his willful failure to visit without affecting his obligation to keep paying support. If he doesn't want to abide by the PP, it's his obligation to file a Petition to modify, not yours but that doesn't stop you from filing your own Petition. Don;t let him bully you.

Dave Hawkins

Dave Hawkins

Posted

His e-mail does not relieve you of your obligation to comply with the court order. He doesn't call the shots, the court does.

Posted

I agree with attorney Hawkins. The court may talk to the child but ultimately the court makes all the custody decisions.

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Posted

The child can choose when they turn 18 and become an adult. It is up to you as the parent to modify the parenting plan. If he wants to forfeit his visitation you might want to get it in writing (email or letter).

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