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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 110385
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Approximately six years ago, my ex husband asked me for split

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Approximately six years ago, my ex husband asked me for split 50/50 custody with our son. Having just gone through my second divorce, he was trying to catch me at a weak spot. I told him that I did not agree to do that and change our agreement (which was the SPO, every other weekend with Dad). He then threatened to sue me, which scared me because I had no money at the time to defend myself, so I agreed to it. He wanted to change the primary custodial parent to him because he wanted him in a different school district than I was in because our son needed a "better and more challenging" curriculum and gifted and talented program because he was so smart. I agreed to that, as well, after checking into the school district he was in. My son has been on this schedule ever since. My son seems to be going through a separation anxiety issue with me right now and seems to be having extreme difficulty with the going back and forth to different houses. Today, he refused to go into his Dad's care, latching on to me screaming crying. It was very difficult for me and my son, while his Dad insisted that it was his time and that my child go with him. My son wants this changed, and seeing the effects that it has on him now, I would like to change it, too. I would like to know what my options are, and where I should go from here. I am now remarried with two other children and cannot afford a high-dollar attorney to sue him (which his Dad is telling me I should do if I want custody), not knowing what the turn-out would be.
First step here (and unfortunately at some point you will need an attorney to resolve it) is that you need to get the child into therapy and dad should not object to that because it will help identify the reason for the behavior. Second step depends on what the therapist says as to the reasons for the behavior and, if you cannot afford an attorney to go to court which is where you will need to go if the dad will not agree to a change in writing, begin working with the child to resolve the issues. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that unless dad agrees to the change in writing you can do nothing to change the agreement without an attorney and going to court. Regardless of what you decide regarding an attorney or court, the therapist is still the required first step because you would need that report to present to the court if you decide to go there to convince them for the change.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He has already been to a therapist and will not share the feelings with her because he is afraid of her telling his Dad how he feels. He didn't want his Dad to know he didn't want to be with him anymore, so I think that's why he lashed out the way he did today. He clearly has issues but will not speak with therapists about them, just me. Therapy and counseling did nothing for him. Any other suggestions...I don't know much about mediation but could I try to get custody changed through that? Especially since I've had a change in circumstances since I agreed to the split custody?
Mediation will not work if dad is not willing to negotiate and court would be the only way to accomplish what you are seeking to accomplish. The court may consider the wishes of the child, but if the child is afraid to discuss the reasons then this may not help either because he may not explain his reasons to the court and in that case the court would likely not change the custody. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that unless dad is willing to discuss this and negotiate, the court will be the only way to go and if the child will not discuss the reasons with the therapist then you have a problem as well because the court has no "significant change in circumstances" that they can use as grounds to order the change.
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