New Zealand reportedly has a new law that affords children a large say in who should care for them – without regard to the age or maturity of the children.
The statute is not limited to situations where the children’s parents are embroiled in child custody disputes.
And so a 16 year old girl successfully petitioned a New Zealand court to live with her older sister – even though her mother was a perfectly fit parent.
‘The judge said the mother had been using her rights as a guardian to ensure, “no doubt for the very best of motives”, that the daughter complied with her wishes as the mother.‘
And a New Zealand appellate court held that a four year old’s wishes should have been given greater weight in a family dispute.
This is an enormous, questionable leap beyond conventional child emancipation and termination of parental rights laws in the US.
Only time will tell the social impact of the statute in New Zealand.