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Attorney & Mediator
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Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney & Certified Mediator
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My sister is(and has been) the sole legal and physical ...

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My sister is(and has been) the sole legal and physical custodian of her son since 1995, when he was 4 years old(he is now 16). He has resided in NH with his mother since that time, having visits with his father in CT on occasional weekends and 2 week time frames in the summer. The end of a 2 week visitation comes to a close on Sunday 8/3, and my sister received a 4 page letter today(Friday after the courts closed) saying that he(her son) is very unhappy and wants to remain with his father. She has been unable to contact them by phone, and intends to leave a message stating that she expects him to be at the designated pickup area at 5pm on Sunday as per the plan and court order. She is willing to discuss the situation with her son and if he would really like to go with his father, she would like him to tie up loose ends in NH(his job and eagle scout project) and then go about letting him live in CT by going through the court. Can she get him back?? If he doesn''t show up? Thanks
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
Sorry to hear what your sister is going through. Both parents must comply with the court orders. A minor does not have the legal power to decide where he wishes to stay. Only the parents or the judge decide what arrangement is in the child's best interests. Dad will need to comply with the court orders, failure to do so will result in father being in contempt of court. The father can also be charged with custodial interference, which is a criminal offense. Again, the child has no control over this, so dad needs to make sure the orders are complied with if he does not want to get in trouble with the court or the police. Only exception to this rule would be if the child would be exposed to a risk of harm if returned to his mother. If this were the case, father would have the legal right to protect his son. But absent an urgent need, orders must be complied with.

Mom can get her son back and may be able to use the police to assist in the removal of the child from the father. This however may require that mom first report the father for the crime of custodial interference. Only then will the police get involved. Do note that sometimes the police does not like to get involved in these family situations and if this turns out to be the case with your sister, she will need to file the motion for contempt to enforce her rights.

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