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Father has had teen daughter living with him for 6 months; how to end his child support and modify custody?

Your Question:
I have had my 15 year old daughter since early Feb of this year 2006. She wants to live with me permanently. So after a few months of making sure this is what she really wants i went ahead with the legal proceedings. I hadn't realized how much this would cost me. I am the primary income provider in my household. I already had a paper made up signed by my 15 year old stating that she feels it's in her own best interest to live with me permenantly. It was written by a lawyer and notarized. The cost of taking this to trial any further is way over my head. I cannot get my ex to settle this out of court. For the past 6 months i still have to pay her child support even though the child has been living with me. She has not spent a dime on our child since our child has been in my household. This has created a tremendous financial burden on me. I was wondering are there any Pro Bono Lawyers that usually help in these types of situations. I would love to be pointed in any direction that could help me out.

Thank you for your time.

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My Answer:

No, you're not going to find any pro bono attorneys to help your case in any significant way. And, if there were, you probably wouldn't want them (i.e., not good).

If nothing else, I suggest you may want to modify child support right now, given the actual situation. I don't know about other states, but in California, the court looks at the ACTUAL custodial timeshare, not what's on paper. But of course, once you start attacking the mother's money stream, she'll want to yank back the child.

I think you should be able to take this to court for several thousand dollars, at least to get a yes or no answer.

You may want to get other folks (e.g., a therapist, a teacher) who can also testify that child truly wants to live with Dad for valid reasons that are good for her.

I know several thousand $$ is quite a bit of money for many folks. I'd suggest that you look at it as a business decision. If you spend $5k today -- even on a loan or credit card -- and it ends up saving you $500+ per month (due to child support reduction), it's only ten months later that you've recouped your attorney fees. And you're AHEAD financially after that.

Also, consider if you end up owing your attorney money at the end, most attorneys will work with you to set up a payment plan on any outstanding debt.

If you don't feel confident doing this yourself, just bite the bullet and get an attorney. It'll be done right, and you'll be far ahead financially two years later.

This is all assuming that what you've written is true. A 15 year old who has been living with Dad for 6 months, and who wants it to continue, and who is doing well, and who is not in danger of anything at Dad's house... it sounds like you have a slamdunk case; so the odds are decent that you won't just waste your money on attorney fees.

And, think that for every month that passes, you're out ANOTHER huge chunk of child support that should be going to your kid, not the mother. Each month that passes, you pay out what could have gone to an attorney to help fix your situation.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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