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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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In desperate need of advice!!! My ex and I have joint custody.

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In desperate need of advice!!! My ex and I have joint custody. He is/was custodial parent until Dec 2011. Our 14 year old son begged him to let him stay with me. His father said yes. He switched his insurance (miltary), had his school records transferred. Father lives in Kansas, I live in Michigan. I was paying child support, which I had abated after showing proof my son was attending school here. Now, his father has changed his mind, and wants him back. Our son does not want to live there. His dad has only made contact with him 8-10 times in a year, and done nothing to support him. Our son has been through so much, he has made friends here, his grades have improved. I am currently unemployed, not by choice. What can I do? He already tried to take him, about 3 weeks ago, and the police officers here refused to allow him.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Is the custody case in the MI or KS courts?

Are you the legal residential parent by court order?

Is the father paying any support through a court order?

Does he have specific visitation times by a court order?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The custody case is in KS court


I am NOT the legal residential parent by court order

(his father agreed to let him stay, and did NOT argue ANYTHING in court)

No, father not paying any support

No specific visitation times, due to fact we never changed it over in the court

DearCustomer This is going to be a problem since private agreements are not enforceable in court and if the court never approved a suspension of the child support then that is adding up as well. Unless you get a court order to change the custody the father has a right to demand that your son return to KS. Since the child is physically in MI you may be able to have the case moved to MI and contest the issue there. Although the court always has the final say as to child custody, when kids get into their teens the courts will generally listen to their wishes as to which parent the child wants to live with so if your son is willing to testify in court there is a good chance that the court will approve the custody change. If you can't get the case moved to MI then you ill have to litigate this in KS. I understand you do not have money for an attorney and that of course is another problem and I have no solution to that unless you can find a low cost or pro bono attorney. The best place to seek assistance is the Bar Association where there are programs to assist low income families with legal issues. I can't guarantee that you will find someone but that's a good place to start. Essentially what you need is a court order to change custody. I have included the websites for both the MI and KS Bar Associations for your convenience.

Dave Kennett and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Kansas did agree to an abatement in child support, so that is not adding up for me.

I started the paperwork here in Michigan, according to the interstate "worker", Kansas is willing to work together with Michigan to change the custody.

Now, when the father came here on Nov 12, he brought law enforcement, and they would not agree to let him take our son. Due to the fact he did not have an "emergency" pick up order. My son was here, and refused to see/talk to his father in front of the police dept. When I spoke to a Kansas attorney, he did tell me that a judge will not just issue a pick up order without hearing both sides. It has been a year, The father willingly changed insurance, never filed a "failure to return" or "denial of parenting time", and didn't argue at the hearing to stop the child support payments.

If I am able to hire a lawyer, do I have a good case? My son is more than willing to testify.

In the meantime, am I able to write the judge a letter, explaining things?? My son says he is willing to write the judge also.

DO NOT write anything to the judge. The judge will not read it and it is not proper when there is a contested case for anyone to write or call the judge directly without the opposing party or counsel involved. I think you have a great case to get custody switched. At 15 most courts will listen to the child and assuming there's not some really unusual reason why the child should not live with you the court will grant the change in custody. The basis is the "best interests of the child" and if the child wants to live with you the court would have no reason to disagree. The "unusual" circumstance I mentioned would be something like if you were living with a convicted felon or child abuser then the court would not agree with the child.