Son requests to live with Dad

Rosen Law Firm settled my uncontested divorce back in Apr 2006. I pay child support. My ex-wife and I have joint custody but my son resides with her in North Carolina, I reside in Hawaii. My ex-wife promised my son that anytime he wants to leave he can. He turns 17 this year and has requested to move and reside with me. Also, I want him to live me. In light of losing child support, her only income, she says he can’t go, however, she’ll let him visit. He made it clear to me that once in HI he would not return to NC. I can’t physically place him on the plane and I definitely would not be keeping him from leaving.

To avoid the mess from a missed return flight and from a messy court battle, what could my son do? Is there anything I could do on his behalf to facilitate his move?

You can file a motion to modify child custody and ask the court to order that he remain with you.

Thanks for the reply. Is this an expensive endeavor involving a court appearance, child services review and a lengthy process? Especially, since I know his mother will contest. Or is it just a matter of filing a motion? Considering he turns 17 later this year, is he considered an adult in NC? If so, couldn’t he just move if he wanted?

After your motion is filed you will be given a court date, which is typically about three months from the time you file (can be more or less, depending on the judge’s calendar). Both you and your former spouse will be given an opportunity to be heard regarding the modification. Although your son is not yet considered an adult in NC, the wishes of the child tend to be persuasive to a judge once the child is an adolescent. Ultimately it will be up to the judge to decide whether to modify the existing order or not.

The cost of depends on whether you chose to represent yourself or hire an attorney. We would be happy to schedule a phone consultation with you should you wish to have us represent you for the modification.