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Does a 17 1/2 yr old have to go for scheduled visitations with her father..or does she have a legal right to tell she isn't goin

Titusville, PA |

she is 17 1/2 will be 18 in 4 months, a senior in high school. always goes for visitation, but when she tells her father she doesn't want to go and wants to stay at her home he uses guilt to make her go. He tells her it is his time with her and she has to go. due to her age does she have a choice to tell him she isn't going, and can she go see him when she wants too

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Attorney answers 1


There is no magic age when children get to decide where to live. The best interest of the child is the standard.

The law regarding a child's 'right'* to choose is a matter for each State and jurisdiction. The judge in most States, not the child, makes the decision based on the best interest of the child. Although not a standard by any means, many States have begun to give 'consideration' to a child's declaration of custodial preference when the child reaches the age of twelve or thirteen, sometimes fourteen. There are even cases when children of age 9 are allowed to testify.

The judge is normally given almost unlimited latitude in whether or not she or he listens to a child and how much weight to give to the child's wishes. In short, there is no specific "age" but the younger the child the less likely for a judge to give the stated preference much weight.

Good luck to you.

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