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Noncustodial father lost attempt to switch custody based upon teenage kids' desire; now what?

Your Question:
My son had joint custody for 2 years. When exwife remarried she sued for custody and won primary placement. The kids had to transfer to a new school and see their father only on Wensday evening and every other week-end. Mother is upset if they even call him or he calls them during their time in her home. The eldest son now 15 wants to live with his Dad but court says he has no rights till he is 18. He has been through councelling and Mom is aware of his wishes but contiues to deny them to others. The 13 year old also requests to live with his father, has been medicated for extreme depression and very verbal with councelor. The third child is an 8 year old girl and she is in agreement with her brothers. The court appointed lawyer for the kids said that since no abuse has been noted that he will not reccommend change in placement. Even though he feels that the decision to place the kids with their mother was not a good one due to the counselors notes. Hence our sons lawyer reccommended dropping the case. I and my husband are at a loss of how the court can veiw that 1 persons prefference should over ride 4. We can not veiw this as anything but discrimmination against fathers. Please give us some ideas on what to do next . Money for us all has run out. This has put my son in a huge amount of debt and all plans have got to be carefully weighted out from here on . He has been through 2 court hearings and 1 appeal. We live in Iowa if that makes a difference.

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My Answer:

Sorry your family has been in such chaos. My suggestion is pretty short for you.

It's important for your son to really start to learn how to build a solid case to the point that the judge's hands will be tied with ruling for only one outcome-- dad's.

For this judge, the case just hasn't been strong enough to switch custody and completely disrupt the lives that the kids have known. It's possible that he may be biased (e.g., against Dad, against Dad's attorney, for Mom, or for Mom's attorney), but that's largely irrelevant to trying to effect change here.

It's also possible that his attorney was a boob and didn't know how to effectively build and argue the case.

Get the book "Child Custody A to Z", which I describe on my Recommended Books page. It will be worth the $20 to get a better grasp on how to put together a rock-solid case and almost force a decision. It'll also give advice on what kind of attorney to hire (if you come up with more money later).

In the meantime, Dad should try to be the best Dad he can be. In six to twelve months, perhaps he'll have put together an impressive case, and the judge will have to take it more seriously.

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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