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I am having a dilemma with my 15 yr old daughter. she is…

I am having a...

I am having a dilemma with my 15 yr old daughter. she is experiencing a lot of trouble living with her mother and her mothers partner and wants to live with me. she is with me this weekend and is saying she is not going to return to her mothers on sunday. what happens if she refuses to return and stays with me. is she old enough to make that choice?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Saskatchewan

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Reports in the past of abuse etc

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

That she is very vulnerable and her moms partner is very abusive and her mom recently started hitting her.

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Answered in 9 hours by:
3/10/2018
Ulysses101
Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,748
Experience: 11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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Hello, thank you for the questions.

Does the mother have custody? What is the legal arrangement here?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Shared custody but she lives with her mother.

Is that by a court order? How far apart do you live?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The only court proceding was a pretrial agreement where it was agreed kids would live with mother. This was in 2011. We are 300km apart.

OK, should I assume that you and the ex aren't on good terms?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No. Lots of issues with parent alienation and emotional, verbal and psychological abuse with our daughter.

You can probably see where I'm going with this.

Will the child herself tell mother that she's not going back?

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That's good, because the mother isn't going to believe you if you say that the child doesn't want to go back but the child won't say it. Before you engage in the following you need to be really objective; is there any possibility that the child is strongly exaggerating or lying for her own reasons? We never want to believe our children capable of doing this, but it happens a lot.

Will the child be firm about it her wishes to the mother? Will she resist mother's pleading, apologizing, threatening, and guilting? That's what will likely happen.

Here's what I recommend. Firstly, call the child welfare authorities in your jurisdiction and in mother's, let them know what's going on. They won't likely do much, but you want to let the powers that be know what's going on because your ex will probably call them herself looking for help in getting the child back. When you call them, don't be in a rage or demanding that they do something; this may be the first they've heard of it, and it's a weekend. Don't assume that they will give you any good advice or instructions. You just want to make these calls to protect yourself, and if they feel like investigating that's good.

Then get the child to sit down and make a list of the reasons why she wants to stay with you. It should be focussed on the child, not on how you feel or simply blaming the mother. If mother is hitting the child, that's bad. If the boyfriend is being abusive that's also bad. But what's the effect on the child? If she doesn't feel safe at home, then it's not a home at all and she'll never do well at school or develop socially, for example. And if your home is better, have a reason why: there's no yelling or people fighting, it's calm and quiet, less drama, child feels safe and can relax, like that.

If the mother or boyfriend have addictions that your daughter is aware of, she shouldn't be shy to mention it. If mom denies it that will demonstrate the dissonance between them that will help.

Talk to your daughter calmly about how mom is likely to react, and how she plans to deal with it. You don't want that conversation to turn into a shouting match, just accusing each other of things. That isn't healthy or productive.

Keep in mind that the child doesn't have the absolute right to decide where she lives. She's not 18 yet, and the written order or agreement doesn't give her the authority (I assume, given that it was done up years ago). What you want is this: for mom to see the writing on the wall, that at age*****isn't going to order the child back home, the police aren't going to intervene, and if the child welfare authorities get involved then it'll be even worse for mom. Your ex may come to that realization quickly, maybe not.

When you have had a talk with your daughter about all of this, as adult and calm and rational as possible, have the child write out a letter to mom saying briefly that she wants to live with you, and a few solid reasons why that are focussed on her own best interests rather than simply assigning blame. Writing it out will help firm it up in her head (not that she should read from it like a script). After the conversation, then you can consider sending it to the mother electronically just to have something in writing between them. And writing it out ahead of time will be easier than after the conversation which might be very difficult for your daughter.

Make sure you have a copy of the order. Check it carefully to see if there's a police assistance clause. Anyone who calls, police or child welfare, stay calm. Your ex has probably already contacted them first, and she was likely escalated. These authorities have a lot of discretion, so be more calm and rational and child focussed than your ex. Tell your daughter that she may have to explain what's happened and explain her reasons to others, not just to mom. She might have to talk to police and a social worker, maybe more than once.

I don't know if it's March Break coming up for you there. If so, that's good because the child won't miss school while all of this is going down. On Monday, call the nearest high school if they are open, and school board if the school isn't, and talk about transferring the child. Hopefully she can continue in the same credits she's already enrolled in, and have her work or grades so far transmitted to the new school, so she doesn't lose any credits. It that won't work, you will have to make some choices. Maybe she only takes two credits because she has a lot of catching up to do, and you get her into another credit program over the summer in person or online. This is important to work on because it shows you're making efforts to keep the child's education on track. Same thing if she has any special medical issues.

If you have a lawyer or know any, call on Monday to make an appointment. You'll need to get this into court soon. It's not an emergency yet, but you don't want to wait any longer than the minimum.

Does all of that make sense? I'm here if you have question or comment. If I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please. That's how I get paid by the site for helping you today. A 5 star rating would help my statistics.

Ulysses101
Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,748
Experience: 11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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