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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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Hello, I live in the state of Wisconsin. I am the mother of

Customer Question

Hello, I live in the state of Wisconsin. I am the mother of a six year old little boy. I have had full custody of my son since he was born; his father and I were not together. His father did not have any visitation outside of my presents until our son was one year old. His father currently has one overnight a week and every other weekend. We have been too court several times in the last five years although most of the original order remains in effect. I had not been in any relationships or introduced my son to any men until my current boyfriend who I had dated for several months prior to introducing them. Last November we began living together and my son and boyfriend have formed a very close relationship.
My boyfriend was recently accused of (and charged with) theft from his employer and possession (both as misdemeanors). I believe he is being offered differed prosecution; however I believe he may have to plead guilty? My major concern is how this might affect my custody case. We just went over the two year mark from our last order and my son’s father is threatening to take me to court and is aware of the charges against my boyfriend.
I have never done drugs, nor has my boyfriend ever been charged with any other crimes. He did not have any illegal drugs on him at the time of the arrest (he is accused of stealing the drugs from his employer). I send my son to a small private school and volunteer there several days a week. I have been very involved in his schooling and am a good mom. There has been absolutely no evidence (because there isn’t any) of drug use in our home (we don’t even have friends over, just family). We have a very nice house and have provided a stable environment for my son.
These things have always been true though, and I have always felt that in court I have the burden to disprove all the lies about whether or not I am a good mother. I am very concerned that this can be used against me to alter placement in favor of my son’s father (he wants to have full physical and legal placement). It isn’t as simple as just having my boyfriend move out however; because I believe that my son who has bounded with him would be deeply hurt and confused by that. How much can this be used against me? What is the likelihood that my son of whom I have been the primary care giver all his life would be taken from me? Is there anything that I can do to protect myself?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I certainly understand your concerns for your child. I have no way of predicting the outcome of any court case so what I say in my answer is based on my experience and the way the law is applied. Child custody is based on the "best interests of the child" and that standard is used by courts in all states. So the father would have the burden to show that it would be in the best interests of your child to have custody switched and the only basis I can see as to a change in circumstances is the current problem your boyfriend is having. The court considers everything when looking at the best interests of a child so I can't tell you that this situation is not of concern. Generally, if a crime is not one of violence or sex related and has nothing to do with the child then the court will not automatically say that either the child or the person accused of the crime must leave the home. Based on your facts and if your boyfriend has no drug addiction problems, I believe that you are still in a strong position to retain custody. A lot of times situations like this are based on jealousy and the non custodial parent will use this as a means of trying to control your relationship. Until thee is a court action filed there's really nothing you can do but to continue as is. There would be nothing you need to file since you already have custody so all you can do is defend any motion for a change of custody if it is filed. If this ever gets to the point where there is going to be a contested custody hearing my suggestion would be for you to hire a child psychologist as an expert witness to testify that it is in the best interests of your child to remain in your custody and that your boyfriend poses no threat to the safety of your child.