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Stepmother and father worried about losing custody of son after they moved

Your Question:
We have had custody for over 5 years, due to the fact that mother was unstable. Rehab/addict etc. Mother and Father were 200 miles away. Father recently moved half and hour further away. Father is a student/stay home dad and SM works full time rotating shifts. BM works days. 10 year old son did not take move well. Cried a lot, said he missed his mom and wanted to live with her. Only reason provided was that he missed her. He is loved very much, has excellent grades, plays in all sports, and is spoiled rotten (my fault!) Anyway, we took him to a therapist because he was crying every morning before school and we were worried. Thereapist said he had some anxiety problems, not enough to need medication. He also expects that it will end very soon. Wanted to see him a few more times. No crying or complaints in the last two weeks. Adjusting well now, two months later, seems like old self. Mother has gotten legal and wants custody. We are scared to death of losing our son. She has relapsed 5 times in the last five years, but has currently been clean for over a year. Please help, thank you very much.

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My Answer:

The mother has a pretty steep uphill battle. She has to first demonstrate in what way the child is suffering significantly with the current arrangements, and then she has to show that her proposed parenting plan will resolve it; AND she has to overcome a question of "How is mother's work schedule better for this child than father's?!"

She's coming into court as a long-term addict who has only been sober for a year after many failed rehab attempts. She previously lost custody.

I think it's normal for a 10 year old to have adjustment difficulties after a move. You're able to show that you got help for him, to help cope with his emotions.

Unless there's more to your story, I don't think you have much to worry about. You may have to fight it in court, but I can't imagine the outcome will be what you're fearing.

But I'm just some guy sitting at a computer. Consult with an attorney to confirm all this.


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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