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Post #8544 by cornelius on April 24th 2008, 3:55 PM (in topic “Daughter wants to change residence - variation in court orders?”)

Daughter wants to change residence - variation in court orders?

Background: I divorced about 11 years ago with one daughter between us which I (after exhausting legal fight) gained shared custody with for approx 10 years. In 2006 I moved interstate with new family and made new orders with holiday access (daughter resided with her mum). Since then, said daughter has been voicing a request to live with me which has been more determined each visit. Last year (2007) I put in for a variation to the orders with a request for a family report - this was prepared by a court-appointed councellor. The councellor's report stated that although my daughter wanted to live with me that she did not believe that my daughter was determined enough. Hence the variation in orders just became a reasonable access application.

Yesterday: during a holiday visit, my daughter (12 y.o. later this year) has stated both to me and her mum that she doesn't want to travel back and wants to live with me. She is increasingly determined - but although she took the initiative to call legal aid, they were unhelpful saying that there was nothing she could do. I am considering applying through legal aid for another variation in the court orders with another family report - this time hopefully she will be listened to. A good part of her reason for wanting the move is that her mother constantly lies to her, manipulates her and represses her, and at the same time she is not getting the quality parental time she needs (as her mum is a career woman, and rarely spends quality time with her).

Would she be able to apply for legal aid (Canberra)? Will the court and councellor take her wishes more into account this time? Will legal aid take this on? Should I wait until she is 12? Sorry for the general nature of this post, but I need advice. Please help if you can.

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