Custody


#1

I have been divorced for over 4 years now and get my son every other weekend. He is now 9 years old and wants to come live with me. What are my options?

Thanks


#2

Is your current custody arrangement by court order or agreement? By agreement, you may have a little more ability to work out something with the ex rather than go to court. Maybe suggesting that there be a temporary change to see if the child is capable of dealing with the transition and to give everyone time to adjust. Maybe 6 months where you continue everything as it is now just that the child lives with you and visits the other parent…then after that time frame, file for child support modification. (It’s been my experience that this is when the other parent pushes for the original arrangement to be put back in place, but that’s only the parents who are more concerned with the money than with what is best for the child.)

If your arrangement is by court order, you will have to file for custody modification with the courts. You will have to show why the current arrangement is no longer in the best interest of the child…and spending more time with the non-custodial parent is a valid reason to modify custody. This can be easy if the other parent agrees to the modification but can be difficult if the other parent is fighting this change. If it does end up going to court, it’s best to make sure that the child understands what this change means. You are not taking him away from the other parent but will simply be a rearrangement of where he lives. I believe that this must also go through mediation so there will be a chance to attempt to get the other parent to agree.


#3

It is more likely that you all split 50/50 unless you can come up with some other agreement.


#4

Do you have a court order or separation agreement in place?


#5

I have a seperation agreement.


#6

If your current custody schedule is outlined in a separation agreement you may file an action with the court for an initial determination of custody without having to prove a substantial change in circumstances (which you would need in the event you were trying to change an Order).
The court will give deference to the Separation Agreement’s schedule, as it is presumed that the schedule that you have been operating under is what is best for your son, however you will have the chance to refute that and prove that based on his age level and growing maturing he is now at an age where it will be better for him to spend more time with you.
A judge will usually not hear from children (even then its simply one factor) on which parent they want to live with, so your son’s wishes have little to do with the case. The burden will be on you to prove he will be better suited to a shared custody schedule.