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Question
Posted by: Julian | 2011/03/02

Rights of a 16 year old?

Hi there,

At what age can a child decide where he wants to stay (not with family)? I know of a boy who is 16 years old and is extremely unhappy with the current situation at his home. His mother drinks excessively, and he has to endure her physical and psychological abuse on an almost constant basis.
His father is currently in prison, and the boy has no contact with him.

Can he come and stay with us, so we could give him the love can care he needs? How will this work?

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,
Julian.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

I would say from about 10 years. Section 10 of the Children's Act stipulates that every child that is of such an age, maturity and stage of development as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the right to participate in an appropriate way and views expressed by the child must be given due consideration. You should consult an attorney, what you may be able to do is to obtain parental rights in respect of the child.

Bertus Preller
B.Proc; AD Dip L Law
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
Established 1935
1st Floor, 56 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, 8000
O: +27 (0) 21 422 1323
Direct Fax: 086 572 8373
E: bertus@divorceattorney.co.za
W: http: www.divorceattorney.co.za
Twitter: www.twitter.com/edivorce
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2
Our users say:
Posted by: family law expert | 2011/03/12

I would say from about 10 years. Section 10 of the Children's Act stipulates that every child that is of such an age, maturity and stage of development as to be able to participate in any matter concerning that child has the right to participate in an appropriate way and views expressed by the child must be given due consideration. You should consult an attorney, what you may be able to do is to obtain parental rights in respect of the child.

Bertus Preller
B.Proc; AD Dip L Law
Family Law Attorney
Abrahams and Gross Inc.
Established 1935
1st Floor, 56 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, 8000
O: +27 (0) 21 422 1323
Direct Fax: 086 572 8373
E: bertus@divorceattorney.co.za
W: http: www.divorceattorney.co.za
Twitter: www.twitter.com/edivorce
Facebook: www.facebook.com/divorceattorneys

Reply to family law expert
Posted by: FIO | 2011/03/11

The law ac hild to decide at any age, even from as young as when he can first speak and express him/herself.

Whats important is to evaluate why the child wants to make specific decisions, then evaluate the circumstances to determine whether or not it is in the childs best interests.

Failure to listen to the voice of the child is contravening the CHidlrens Act, which states that the voice of the child must be heard, listened to and considered.

You can have an attorney appointed to act on behalf of the child, who will then fight for the wishes of the child to be made an order of the court, and so come live with you. Alternatively you can fight for it, but it would be better if the attorney represented the child.

Who pays the attorney is not relevent, what is relevent is that he childs wishes are heard and repreesented in court.

Reply to FIO

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