‘Privileged’ teen divorces mother

Sunday Star Times 12 Nov 06
A 16-year-old schoolgirl from an upmarket Auckland suburb has removed herself from her mother’s care into the guardianship of the Family Court – because she wanted to live with her sister who is in her early 20s. The mother, a professional woman who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said the daughter had been influenced by an absentee father, an older sister and a school which bowed to her wishes without consultation.The mother’s letter to her MP listed reasons the daughter won under “unusual circumstances” to have guardianship placed with the court. The reasons included that she “does not have a good relationship with her mother” according to Justice Sarah Fleming; that the 16-year-old is given permission by her older sister to stay at friends’ houses on school nights when that would be denied by her mother; and that the younger sister shared the older sister’s “distress” over being asked to repay debt to her mother incurred for an overseas trip last year.In a letter of complaint to the school she said the school counsellor was “supporting and assisting my daughter’s application to the Family Court in what was effectively a child’s attempt to remove her mother’s guardianship status”.