I know I'm mostly a lurker and once in a while chime in with my 2 cents but I have a question. It is pretty subjective so if it stirs up some drama, I apologize, but I am seriously interested in opinions on this subject.
Say a parent does something really wrong: harms a child, abandons a child for a period of years, is involved in some serious neglect of a child, etc resulting in them not being around their child for quite some time; and then a few years down the line wishes to become part of that child's life again. Say that while the parent was still in the child's life, the child was scared of that parent but as most children do, kept their feelings to themselves out of fear; so the parent never realized the child's true feelings. If that child has been through extensive counseling or some other professional help, at what point do you feel the child's wishes on the subject should be considered and to what extent.
Is there an age you feel is appropriate for them to speak on their own behalf in court; should they not speak in court because it is damaging to them; should they get a say in whether they have to begin spending time with the parent they are afraid of again, should it just be forced by the courts regardless of the child's wishes?
I appreciate all your thoughts. Seems that my husband's estranged ex-girlfriend who has not been part of my SS's life for nearly 5 years now, is talking to people about wanting to start seeing him again. He is terrified of her to the point of being almost physically ill whenever he talks about the abuse he suffered when he still lived with her. The ex called DH's brother and spent 20 minutes going on and on about how the child is only afraid of her because DH has convinced him he should be, which is clearly not the case. SS has been in long term counseling and has expressed his fear of her since day one with the counselor. SS is pre-teen, so I feel he should be allowed to voice his opinion if this should ever become a serious request on her part and end up in court, but I would like to know what other people think about this. TIA.