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How soon after trial can father file to modify custody, based upon son's exposure to porn?


Your Question:
My husband and I were granted joint custody of his son(10)in November 06. He now spends most of his time with us seeing his mother every other weekend and every other Thursday if he is not with her that weekend. Holidays are rotated each year. The summer is set up where he is with her every other week.

We previously knew he was being exposed to alcohol, cigarettes, abusive language, different boyfriends, two divorces in three years, moving 4 or 5 times in three and a half years and more when we went to court. The GAL recommended he spend more time with us.

Since living with us his grades in school have improved greatly(his teachers say there is a big difference), his behavior toward his mother went from disrepectful to respectful most of the time, he is getting sick less and he has been much happier.

We were ok with this set up until we found out recently that he was being exposed to pornography, and some other unhealthy things. If we had known this before we would have been more aggresive in getting full custody.

We would like to file for Sole custody with her recieving limited visitation. Every other week is to much time for him to be in an unhealthy environment where he will be mostly unsupervised.

How soon can we file? Can we do it without lawyers? (Ours were pretty bad) Is there an chance we could get full custody? We keep records of child support we pay, and everything else that we pay for him. We also keep records of problems when he is with his mother.

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My Answer:
Hi,

A parent can file to modify custody whenever there is new evidence that indicates the current arrangement is detrimental to the child's welfare. If you discover it a week after a judgment, so be it. There's no minimum time restriction.

That said, you need to build your case with valid evidence that is clear and convincing. For some reason, you didn't end up with sole custody in the first round. You need the second round to be a slam dunk.

If everything you're saying is true, and if you have no major problems in your home or with your parenting, you should be able to get sole custody of this child with far less exposure to mom's house.

Normally, I advocate that children need high access to both parents, if both parents are healthy. Mom's home sounds too far below average for a good joint custody situation, and if he's being exposed to pornography, that's your new evidence (and you hammer all previous evidence too).

If you're over-reacting to an accidental, isolated incident (e.g., the son was snooping in mom's boyfriend's dresser and found a Playboy), returning to court 2 months after judgment could backfire on you. So be sure of what you're doing.

Ideally, you'll find a better attorney who can represent you. If you're not sure of how to proceed, that would be your better option. You have plenty of time between now and summer to build your case and retain an attorney with at least 10 years' experience doing family law in your county.

Eric





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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