I did not mean to imply rudeness on my part... You mentioned the age of 16. I have a 15 year old daughter. With your statement I would assume that you are saying she has to be 16 in order for this work for her.
A: My apologies. You said your son was 16, and that's the number that stuck in my head. There is no bright-line rule about a child's age. However, the older and more mature the child, and especially, where a child has a drivers license, the court knows that it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to require that the child live in a particular household -- because, the child can just get in a car or take a bus to the other parent's house and thereby force a parenting change.
So, while a 16 year old child would be better -- 15 is still a fair bet -- especially if there is clear evidence of socialization problems in the current family environment.
That being said You also mentioned that I should file for the change and that would be it. The age is what is throwing me. I read that 18 is the limit is some documents, I hear 16 form you and I have seen 12.
At what point can I actually do this and it be worth filing for the change. I do not want to put her mother through this or myself and because she is only 15 this not happen.
I hope this helps. Again please understand I did not mean to imply anything negative on your part.
A: I think my comments above should serve to help you understand how the judge thinks about the issue. It's all about the child's maturity and mobility. If the other parent lives in Orlando, and you live in Miami, then a 15-year old is less likely to pick up and leave on her own. But, if you both live in the same general area, and your houses are only a city bus ride away, then that can make a difference -- especially if the child is sufficiently motivated.
If you file the petition, then you can ask the court to assign a parenting coordinator and maybe you can reach a settlement with your ex, so that you don't have to fight. Seems to me that, since your child is in some distress, you don't have much to lose at this point.
There is another alternative, which is to contact child protective services and ask them for an investigation. Ph.(NNN) NNN-NNNN If CPS thinks that the child is in distress because of the other parent, then CPS will petition the court to place the child into the juvenile court system, and the juvenile court judge may then grant your parenting orders without you having to do much of anything at all. Obviously it would be better to settle all of this with your ex, but sometimes, this sort of "strong-arm" tactic is the only way to get things moving -- once again, if the child is in extreme distress.
Hope this helps.