Can My 12-Year Old Child Decide Whether to Come Visit Me?

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“My ex-wife is telling my daughter that at the age of twelve she can make the decision to come and see me when she wants to. My ex-wife is very manipulative and has denied me my legal rights and has contradicted the divorce decree. She is also using rewards to get my daughter not to want to come and see me. We had to go back to court to get my visitation back. Will I need to go back to court to keep my visitation going at that time?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Is there an Oklahoma or Federal law stating this? If so can you give me the statute?”

I know of no state in which a child gets to make the decisions regarding visitation once they reach a certain age. However, it is a very common misbelief that at the age of 12 – for some reason it’s always the age of 12 – a child can make that choice. So your ex-wife may genuinely believe this.

In any event yes, unfortunately, if your ex denies your visitation, you will need to go back to court. In some states denying visitation is grounds for a change in custody.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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