Changing custody


#1

Dear Jumper:

Greetings. First, I wanted to tell you that my father lived a couple of states away from me from age 3 through age 16. We had visitations, calls, letters, cards, gifts just like you mentioned, and I think he did a great job as a parent. Don’t under estimate your role, just because you are at a distance.

Now, in the court the issue for changing custody is two-fold. First, you must meet the standard that there has been a substantial change in circumstances from the date of the last order. Then, you must prove that it is in your children’s best interests to move to Oklahoma. While your children’s opinions are an important part of the process, they are not the main determining point. When your children get older, then their opinion matters more and more.

The bottom line is that I don’t think that you would be able to achieve a change in the custodial situation currently, since your children are doing well in school, generally happy, not doing without necessaries, and being treated well. Just keep up your efforts to remain in their lives and when they get older, then you may be able to have them come stay with you for a year or two. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
RosenDivorcecom
919-787-6668

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#2

Thanks Janet. Not the answer I was hoping to get [:D], but I greatly appreicate your being candid.

At what age do the courts start to take the opinions of kids more into account?


#3

Dear Jumper:

Sorry that I couldn’t tell you what you wanted to hear, but honesty is the best policy. Now, when you have a child that is around 14, 15, 16, their opinion matters greatly, because if the child decides not to comply, many judges will not send the Sheriff to pick this child up to comply with an order. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
RosenDivorcecom
919-787-6668

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#4

My kids live in Sanford and have lived there since my wife ex and I divorced back in 99/00. Being in the military and knowing I was looking at an overseas assignment, I took an assignment back to Oklahoma instead. The benefits being, I’m now in the Reserves but there’s absolutely no chance of my being deployed or being re-assigned to another unit unless I initiate the process. Which I have no intention of doing.

During my kids’(boys ages 12 and 8) recent summer break here in Oklahoma, both kids expressed an interest in wanting to come live with me and my new wife, if anything for a year. They say they don’t get to spend enough time with me and that would be a good way for them/us to do that. My youngest especially has stated he essentially has no desire to stay in NC and wants to come live with us. My oldest thought the idea of alternating between my house and my ex’s house each year would be cool. Obviously, my ex is not at all interested in discussing this further or even considering it. Both kids were not ready to head back home, especially my youngest. I’m going to wait till X-mas when they come back for the X-mas break and talk to them again about this. If they still want to come live with us, then I’m going to consider taking my ex back to court not so much to take custody away from her, but instead to hopefully get a court order allowing my kids to come live with me, within reason, if they so desire (but not because they got in trouble or didn’t get something they wanted, etc) What is the possibility of getting a court order or having the ability to allow my kids to choose with little interference from their mother? I understand the kids have an “established home”, etc, but this is my kids’ idea and not mine. I made it clear to my kids I wasn’t going to force them to come live with but instead, it had to be because they wanted to. And if after a year, they decide they want to move back to NC, then they can do so as long as it’s their decision and it’s what they want to do

Is it possible for my kids to be able to choose without interference from their mom? She has a habit of promising them things when they get home, but they’ve yet to see any of it. One year, it was a new motorcycle, the next it was a go-cart. This year it was new Orange County Chopper bikes. Her and her new husband claim I’m not being a good father and that their step-dad is more of a dad than I am. Obviously, being 1200 miles away will put a damper on that, but I’m doing my best. I call them twice a week, send them b-day and holiday cards. Give them advice if they ask it, ask how their schooling is going, etc.

My ex is a very vindictive person and would like nothing more than to see me out of my kids life. She’s even made the statement where all I have to do is sign “the papers” and it’ll all be done (referring to adoption papers). Hell, she even went so far as to ASK me to sign them and said as long as I pay child support, I could still see the boys. Of course I told her what she could do with those papers and where to stick em. She hates losing power and loves to be in control. I fought like crazy with her when it came time to amend our decree just prior to my wife and I moving to Oklahoma (she didn’t like the idea of me having joint legal custody despite the fact, I needed it in case something happened with one of the boys while they’re here)

What are my chances as a father?

Sorry this is so long.