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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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I have been custodial parent of my two sons ever since they

Customer Question

I have been custodial parent of my two sons ever since they have been 3 and 1. My oldest is now 15 and wants to live with his father. His father hasn't really been a big part of his life. He has never really followed the child support order when it comes to visitation. There have been years where he only sees the kids 3 to 4 times each year. There have been numerous times he tells the kids he will pick them up and never shows. My son knows this, but he really set on wanting to stay with his father. His father has no chores and no rules for his step kids. His 16 year old step son was recently sent to live with his grandmother due to the fact that the "can't handle him anymore". His step son has been into drugs, fights and so forth.
My questions are 1-If I have a cop come with me to his residence, will I be able to retrieve my son since the child support order states that our son should be with me? and 2-If my ex takes me to court to get custody of our son, what are the chances that the judge will let my son live with his father?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A few more things to add that perhaps may take into consideration:
- I have been at my current job for over 12 years
- I purchased a home about 3 years ago and each of my sons have their own room
- I have been the main person to pretty much do everything for the kids (after school activities, chores, doctor appointments, help with school work, etc)
- I have never done a drug in my life and never have even smoked
- I have been married for the past 6 years to someone that has been very involved in the kids activities as well as myself
- Whenever my ex says he does want the kids for the weekend, I normally meet him halfway so that he doesn't have to drive so out of his way to get the kids
- My ex is married to a woman that attempted suicide about 5 years ago and according to him, he has called the police on her for her "violent behavior" (but never towards the kids)
- My ex has forgotten our younger son's birthday twice
....not sure if any of this would help me since my son is 15. Wouldn't the judge take everything into consideration and rule as to what is better for the child?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I'll be happy to assist you.
If the child custody order states that your son is to be with you, you have the legal right to retrieve him from his father's home. As you suggested, it would be wise to bring along a police officer if you think it could end up being a confrontational situation. That's the easier of the two questions.
Your second question, however, is much more difficult to answer. I'll start by saying that a judge is obligated to issue a custody order that lays out a visitation and living plan that's in the best interest of the child. In your son's case, since he's 15, the judge will place some weight on preference regarding where he wants to live. Keep in mind, however, that the judge is not required to go with what he wants. His reasons for wanting to live with his father will play a major factor. For example, if he tells the judge that he wants to live with his father because he doesn't have any rules, has little supervision, etc., the judge is not likely to place much weight on his opinion. When the judge determines what custody plan is in the best interest of the child, he will look at the following factors:
These factors include (1) the desires of the child; (2) the emotional and physical needs of the child
now and in the future; (3) the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future; (4) the
parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody; (5) the programs available to assist these
individuals to promote the best interest of the child; (6) the plans for the child by these individuals or by
the agency seeking custody; (7) the stability of the home or proposed placement; (8) the acts or
omissions of the parent that may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one;
and (9) any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.
After reviewing all of the facts of your case, the judge will apply those factors and determine if he wants to alter the custody order to allow your son to live with his father, or to keep him with you.
I hope that answers your question. If not, feel free to ask follow up questions. If so, please remember to "Rate" my answer before you go. Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand that since my son is 15, his decision to live with his father will have more of an impact. My concern is that my son may be wanting to live with his father based solely on the fact that he will have more freedom without chores, rules and be able to hang out more with his step brother who has in fact offered my son drugs. Is this something that the judge will take into consideration? What about the fact that my ex has not been part of my sons' lives by his choice in the past 10 years of their lives? Shouldn't that count for something in the eyes of the court?
My younger son has told me that being over at their dad's house is very uncomfortable. Their dad doesn't interact with them and my younger son (13 years old) is telling me that my older son is only wanting to live with their dad because he wants to do drugs with his step brother.
I guess my question is, would I have any chance in keeping the child custody order as it is based on this information?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My ex sent me a text last week stating that he has filed for temporary custody of our son. I have not been served any papers. Is it true that until I get served papers regarding this temporary custody, my ex is currently in contempt? And if this is so, could I still be able to have the police come with me to retrieve my son according to my child custody paperwork?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
Yes, the judge definately takes the reason into consideration. This actually come up frequently, where the teenage minor wants to live with one parent because they have less rules, etc. How much that matters to the individual judge in your case is, of course, up to that judge. Same goes for the fact that he's been uninvolved for so long. That matters, but how much depends on the judge and all the other facts of the case. If you can show that there is drug use going on in the house, the odds of you keeping your son are very high.
As far as the service of process goes, you must be served before you are required to appear, but I STRONGLY encourage you to consult with your lawyer before not showing up to a court date, as there are methods of service by publication that you may not be aware of. You really need to talk to a local lawyer about that.
I hope that answers your question. If not, feel free to ask follow up questions. If so, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go. Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I would never even think about not showing up to a court date. My concern was merely whether I am able to retrieve my son who is currently at my ex's house.
As far as proving whether there is drug use in the house, the only thing that can be shown is that the step brother is no longer living at the house because he has become to much of a problem in regards ***** ***** use, fights in school, drug dealings and from what I understand, he is frequently drug tested by my ex and his mother. The step brother is living with his grandmother that resides within 5 minutes away. Not sure how this will favor or his.
Another concern that I have would be that my husband is bipolar(only because my ex has pointed this out) My husband does see his psychiatrist every month and takes his medicine as prescribed. There have been times that his dosages may need changing and he may go through an episode, but never to the extent where I may fear the safety of myself or my kids.
I don't want this to be a battle of who can bash the other parent the best.
My husband and I have worked especially hard for my oldest son when it comes to school and peer pressure. He has struggled with school most of his life. We are constantly making sure homework is not only done, but also understood. Constant contact with teachers when tests or projects are concerned. We have always been afraid of the people he interacts with. Peer pressure is more of a concern with my 15year old than my 13 year old. He always seems to want to do or wear what the "cool" kids do. He finally made the honor roll and received his learners permit. He is on a good tract and I have such fear that he may loose his focus if he starts hanging around the wrong crowd and his father is not watching out for the signs that my husband and I are so familiar with now.
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
I totally understand your concerns. Frankly, I'd have them too if I were you. I'm not sure what to tell you other than advise you to document as much of this as possible and hope the judge makes the right decision.
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 2 years ago.
I hope that answers your question. If so, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go.