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Can a 9 yr old decide whether she has visitation with a parent?

Salem, OR |

I have a parenting plan established with the custodial parent. I have recently filed for a motion of enforcement because I was denied a week of visitation. My daughter now is saying she no longer wants to visit with me. I know this is from the influence of my ex. My daughter has always been loving and happy during our time together,just not quite sure were I would stand legally here in this matter.

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Attorney answers 4


No, not at all. Additionally, at that young age, in most cases, a 9-year old's opinion will carry very little, if any, weight in persuading a judge. Conversely, if you believe your ex is actively alienating you against your child, you may have legal recourse to argue for altering custody and/or parenting time in your favor. I strongly suggest getting an Oregon family law attorney to help you.

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Nope! A child cannot decide whether or not to visit you. The courts long ago made that ruling. Good luck.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.


No, children do not have that right. Children are not generally consulted on custody decisions, when they're very young - it's considered too much pressure to put on them. Children generally love both their parents and want their approval, and it's cruel to force them (or even to allow them) to choose one over the other. When children get older - about 14, is the unofficial custom - their opinion carries more weight, but it's still not decisive in court.

It is quite a serious matter if a parent keeps a child away from the other parent, or attempts to persuade the child not to want to see them. But if you want to make this claim, you need to be able to provide some proof that this is what happened. Your bare assertion that you "know" this is from the other parent's influence, isn't going to impress anyone. The typical way that courts investigate these issues is through a professional custody evaluation. The court (at the motion of either party) will appoint a professional social worker or therapist to interview the children and parents, maybe visit their homes, watch them interacting, and issue a report. In theory, this is a scientific assessment of what is in the child's best interests. In practice, in my experience, it's an assessment of which parent better conforms to the evaluator's idea of what makes a good parent. They disapprove of parents who speak ill of the other parent, especially around the children, though, so this is an option you may want to consider. You should consult with a family law attorney for more information.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:


Barring evidence something is going on at your home that endangers her health or safety, it is in the best interests of a 9 yr old to visit you. Did her decision to not want to visit you come out of the blue or did something happen during a last visit that caused her to react this way? You never know with young kids. But assuming nothing has changed, you are probably right that your ex is somehow managing this, which is wrong. I would continue on with the current plan, and hopefully get all your make up time, use it to keep the bond with your daughter strong.

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