Question: I have a 13 year old daughter that doesn’t want to see her father anymore. He has been in and out of her life since she was born. He saw our daughter for the first time when she was four and stopped seeing her when she was five because he chose not to pay child support. He came back into her life when she was twelve but now my daughter sees him as a stranger and doesn’t wish to see him anymore. At what age can a teenager decide whether they want to go with their parents? She has a mind of her own and she doesn’t wish to see him anymore.
Answer: Dear Mayra:
Legally it depends upon what the judge decides. My professional opinion is that her father did nothing to develop a relationship with her. His desire to see her is not more important than her desire to not see this stranger. His decision to neglect her for so many years does not make it her responsibility to develop a relationship with him now. She never had responsibility for developing a relationship with her parent. This is the parent’s responsibility only. Neglecting this responsibility has resulted in a natural consequence, her rejection of his efforts. It’s his problem not hers.
M Kay Keller