Working With The Wishes of a 14 Year Old
The Family Court has recently decided that a 14 year old boy ‘spend time’ with his father in accordance with the boy’s wishes after initial time on 4 occasions over 4 months.
Since birth, the father spent irregular time with the child, and for significant periods; no time. The family report writer described the child’s relationship with the father as ‘tenuous’.
The mother’s view was that it would not be beneficial for the child to have a relationship with the father and that she would not positively encourage the child to have a relationship with the father in the absence of a court order. Her proposal was that the child ‘spend time’ in accordance with his wishes.
The father proposed that the child ‘spend time’ with him on 9 separate monthly occasions.
The Judge found that while respecting the views of the child, orders for the child to ‘spend time’ with the father on a limited basis should be made to advance the child’s then tenuous relationship with the father towards a ‘meaningful relationship’ without overwhelming the child.
Further, the Judge noted that this opportunity may well be the last opportunity for this development to occur. The Court was of the view that the father’s proposal would risk the child being ‘oppositional’ to such time
The Court ordered that the child ‘spend time’ with the father on 4 separate consecutive monthly outings over the period of 4 months as well as attending school and extra-curricular activities in that period involving the child.
Following that 4 month period the court ordered that the child ‘spend time’ with the father in accordance with the child’s wishes and the Father be permitted to attend school activities.