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Can a child decide they don’t want to see a parent?

This is a common question especially as children get older. If orders are in place, the child must be made available to spend time with the non-residential parent until they are 18 years of age. However the situation is very different in reality. As children reach their teen years it can often be very difficult to enforce an order against their will.

If there is a risk of violence, neglect or abuse, it will be necessary to make an application to amend the orders. The Court’s primary concern is what is in the best interests of the child. The Court will take into consideration the child’s wishes as an additional consideration based on the child’s level of maturity and understanding.

If there are orders already in place for the child, you must consider the consequences of any breach of the orders by not making the child available to spend time with the other parent.
As a first step, you must contact the Family Relationships Centre and attempt mediation prior to making an application in the Court if there is no imminent danger of violence or abuse.

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