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Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 24869
Experience:  20 years practicing family law from divorce, custody, support, alimony to equitable distribution
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My grandson is 14 years old and his mother has full custody,

Resolved Question:

My grandson is 14 years old and his mother has full custody, now he wants to go live with his father. What are his rights and how would he go about doing it under the NJ Family Law?

Concerned grandmother.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 7 years ago.
Does the father want him full time?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, my son is willing to take him full time. As an additional piece of information, he also has a brother that just turned 10.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 7 years ago.

Will the mother consent?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The mother is dead against my son taking either of them.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 7 years ago.

OK, then he's in for a battle.

 

Clearly, the court determines custodial/visitation issues based upon the axiom "best interests of the child".

 

So, your son will have to file a motion for modication of custody in teh court where the current order is.

 

In that motion he will have to request a change of primary custody based upon that it's in the best interests of the child(ren), that they desire such, and all other reasons that he can think of.

 

The court will schedule a hearing - a mini trial on the matter. Yes, the children can state their preferences as to whom they want to live with. The 14 year old is most likely old enough to potentially make a decision but not the 10 year old. However, the 10 year old can substantiate events that occurred in her house, etc.

 

What happens in these cases is that the judge takes the child(ren) back into his chambers (the judge's office) one-on-one, beyond the eyes and ears of the parents and other people in the court and discusses the matter at length with the child(ren). They talk about many things while in chambers, the current custody situation, the parents, if a parent is pressing them to say something or lie to the court, what problems if any they are having where they reside now, school, sports, etc.

 

After talking with the child, the judge then makes a determination of the child is mature enough (not old enough) to make an intelligent and informed decision based upon the facts and situation. If the judge determines that they are - then the judge will follow the child's wishes. If not, then the judge will do what he/she thinks best under the circumstances.

 

Realize that your son has the harder burden to change custody because she is the status quo - that he's going to have to point out problems and how he would fix such.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Can my grandson request to the courts that his custody be changed or does my son has to do it for him? I understand my son has the burden but I just wanted to know if in special circumnstances my grandson can request that change from the courts. I am only saying this because if my son decides to go for a custody change he will start World War III and if the judge decides to keep the children with the mother, she will take her frustrations on the children and my son doesn't want to put that on them.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 7 years ago.

Your son has to do such.

 

Yes, special circumstances would be certainly relevant to the court in making their decision as to custody.

 

What are the special circumstances?

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