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Child refuses to return to primary carer

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I probably post this request in the wrong area….but I am keen on some responses.

Hi ….my 13.5 year old son has told me he isn't returning to his mother's house at the end of his visitation with me.   Ex and I have tried resolution counselling to no avail.  How old does my son have to be to make this decision.  What will happen if he does not go back to the ex? 
Hi Loco. What a difficult situation for you.

Do you have Court Orders? If you do, then the mother could potentially file contravention proceedings against you.

However, given the age of your son, it is likely that his point of view would be taken into consideration and Orders altered to allow him to stay with you.

It sounds like you've done the right thing in attempting dispute resolution.

I'm not getting a sense from your question about whether you are happy to have him? Or are you wanting to return him to his mothers?
As Malady has stated the court is not really going to make orders that involve a 14 year old.  If a 14 year old wants to live with on parent over another they can simply vote with their feet.  The same thing occurs when a teenager does not what to got to the other parents home every other weekend because they have their own life and things to do with their friends.   If you have dealing with the Child support agency you might consider informing them your son is with you full time now once you are sure he will be staying.    

Child doesn't want to return to primary care giver

I am having some PC issues; so sorry if you get the same post.

Malady….absolutely want my child to live with me, never a question. Logistically I work away on occasions and my son would have to stay with my partner in our house (my ex hates my partner although she knows nothing about her).  My son and partner get on very well.

I would love for this to be a smooth transition; but the ex has already warned my son that if he goes from her house he will never be allowed back etc.  I have asked my son to consider this but he is adamanent that he needs the change to move on with school and life.  I hope with time the bring can be mended if this happens.

I was more concerned about the police being called in etc.  Ex constantly informs me that Child Protection will become involved; for what reason I am unsure.

Thank you for your help once again all.
This situation is very common. For your part simply support your son with whatever decisions (yes plural) he makes - being a teen he's likely to change his mind a few more times yet.

The response of his mother is also common as she is treating this as something you have done rather than a decision your son has made. I'd talk to your son about this so that he is aware that his mother is not respecting his decisions. Let him know that you support him in whatever decisions he makes now & in the future in relation to where he lives. It might also be worth if you can advising the ex of your discussion something like "I've advised Charlie that if chooses to live with you full time then I am fine with his decision, equally if he chooses to live with me then I support his decision. I just want Charlie to be happy & to have as positive of a relationship with both us as he can"

The Child protection threat is just that and most often than not both FACS and/or Police will be very wary about getting involved too deeply where a family separation is involved and the child is choosing where to live. At 13.5 FACS, like magistrates, will pay a lot of attention to what the child says and less to what the parents say so if your ex is going to act like a genuine nut job that will come though in any FACS assessment. In this regard just document any volatile dealings you have with the ex and file them. If you child is worried about mothers behaviour also document them.

Remain calm, support your child and enjoy your life.

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."


Child refuses to return to primary carer

Thank you all for your excellent advice.   Situation gone to court and ex providing the entertainment akin to a circus of our lives.  Son coping relatively well.  My partner isn't going so well with the ex threatening to have her arrested and rocking up at the house without notice.    So we shall practice the 'keeping calm' and enjoying life.   Cheers
Don't tolerate stupid behaviour. If you tolerate it you allow it to happen again.

If the ex is not playing nice treat her behaviour like you would anyone else who behaved that way. If someone threatens your partner and it deserves a police report then report it. If someone trespasses against you are entitled to report it. It will trip your ex up in having to deal with the police and maybe make her think twice about continuing the behaviour. It will also have an impact on how your son looks at her which will again make her think twice. You will will also look very fatherly to him, a solid upstanding man who does what is right. It's a win/win for you.

Call her bad behaviour out. Again, keep your reaction to her behaviour calm, factual and consistent. It makes it easier for you to react if you know that you will react the same everytime she flares up. Get on the front foot and show that you won't be pushed around by her behaviour. She'll soon get the message, and you'll feel better about it.

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."

Agree with Wilfred. As the partner of a man with an invasive ex wife, the best things that you can do are to be calm and clear about what is appropriate.

I suggest setting up a separate email address for child related contact (this has the added bonus of keeping all child related contact in one easy to print place), and taking out an AVO to protect your partner if she is feeling threatened or unsafe.

Let your ex know, in writing, that contact is to be made by email, or by telephone between X and X times, or whatever you feel is appropriate, and that any contact outside of those times will be considered harassment. Let her know that she is not welcome on your property and further contact will be considered trespass and treated as such.

Clear and consistent boundaries are the way to go.


Hi Loco

I am keen to know how things are progressing with your son, court etc?

I am about to enter the same situation in the next few weeks, 14yo daughter has told me she wants to stay with me at the end of the upcoming holidays. Daughter has been saying this for nearly 2 years now but her mother refuses to discuss it with either the daughter or me, so I am a bit of a loss what to do. Previously I could not provide care for my daughter due to work but have changed that specifically so daughter (and son) can live with me and daughter know this. Parenting plan, no court orders.
This is very usefully for me. thank you :)
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