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Girl allowed to choose to live with her father

An 11-year-old girl who threatened to run away or take her own life if she was forced to live with her mother has been allowed to stay with her father instead.

The Court of Appeal decided it had no alternative but to respect her wishes.

The case arose after the girl’s parents separated following the breakdown of their marriage. The girl continued living with her mother and had contact with her father.

The father became concerned about his daughter’s welfare and applied for a residence order. Before a hearing could be heard, the girl went to stay with her father and refused to return to her mother.

The mother applied to have her daughter returned immediately. The girl wrote a letter saying she wanted to stay with her father. The judge took her views into account but made an interim order that she should return to her mother.

The father refused to return his daughter saying that she had made it clear in a series of emails and open letters that she would run away or take her own life if she was forced to return to her mother.

A CAFFCASS officer confirmed that this was the girl’s view.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled that the girl should be allowed to stay with her father for the time being. It held that the girl’s views were so strong that it was not practical to try to get her to stay with her mother.

The court ordered that the girl should stay with her father until there could be a final hearing to decide the matter. In the meantime, it was the father’s responsibility to ensure that she resumed contact with her mother.

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