Q: Is there an age when a child can decide to no longer have overnight visits with their dad.
Mom has full custody. Dad has girlfriend that son does not want to be around at all and feels like dad does not like him. Dad takes don to grand moms house where there is not one thing for him to do and no bed for him to sleep in other than with dad. He is almost 11 years old.
A: That's a touchy question. First, New Jersey courts have long-settled the question of non-custodial parents having girlfriends (or boyfriends). Generally, divorce or dissolution doesn't preclude people from moving on with their lives. The touchy part is determining what's actually happening in terms of facts. If you're looking to change custody or parenting time based on things like the sleeping arrangements or the child's preference, you'll need to convince the court that a change is really in the child's best interest and not some pretext based on other non-relevant considerations. For parents with separate living residences, New Jersey has different requirements that are based on the ages and sex of the children and their individual needs. New Jersey also has no "specific age" at which a child's preference will be considered by a court. Instead, the courts will determine whether a child is of "sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody." But these are all part of a fact-sensitive analysis a court will make. You should definitely contact a family law attorney. Find one that offers a free consultation to help you decide what's best in your case.
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