Can I keep my daughter full time if the other parent gave her up for 6 months? 17 Answers as of June 11, 2013

We have a court order of 50%/50% custody of my 14 year old step-daughter. We moved 55 miles from her mother 1 1/2 yrs. ago and did not inform the court. We drove her to school on our days. However, she came to live with us full time and transferred to a school 6 months ago. (Her mother said it was fine if that is what she wanted. Living with her mother was too chaotic because they all argued too much. Step-father was demeaning towards her. My step-daughter could never do anything right in his eyes. The last straw came when step father pushed her and forced the door shut to her room so she couldn't get out. The mother blamed all her marital problems on my step daughter.) Now she has started high school and she hates it. She went crying to her mother that she wants to go back. My husband is allowing it because he feels there is no other choice. I don't think that environment is healthy for her. Do we stand a chance at keeping her full time?

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Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Any court order determining custody and parenting time remains in place and valid until modified by a subsequent court order. In the scenario you relate, you may seek a change of custody on two basis. First, the child has been integrated into your home full time with the other parent's consent. Second, you have arguments that relate to endangerment. Such cases are never simple. As a result, you should retain experienced and aggressive legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/29/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Not if your husband thinks otherwise.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/25/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
Probably not since your husband never filed a petition to change custody when the child came to live with you full time.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/25/2011
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
Just based on what you have said, yes, you have a chance. This problems are complex, and the Judge has to decide what is best for the teenager. Always difficult when everyone is so angry and upset and calling the others liars. I have navigated these fights a couple of times. You want to be smart about how you deal with it. I can help you with this. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/25/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
The Court Order really needs to be modified to be legally binding.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/11/2013
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Yes. Remember the primary concern is what is in the child's best interest and not rubber-stamping what the children want.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    Your husband may petition the court for a custody evaluation or minor's counsel. However the court will take into account the daughter's struggles with her school. There are many factors considering in determining what is in the best interests of a child. For a 14 year old, the social issues would be a consideration. However if there are factors which make the mother's home unsafe those can be discovered through minor's counsel or a custody evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Raheen Law Group, P.C.
    Raheen Law Group, P.C. | Wali Raheen
    In Virginia, courts consider various factors to determine what is in the best interest of the minor child. In this situation, it appears that the court would accept a motion based on changed circumstances and consider what has transpired and how it has affected the minor child.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    There is always a chance if living with you the majority of the time is in the child's best interest. You may need to file a petition to relocate and/or modify the current order, especially being as you have indicated that you moved more than 50 miles. You should immediately consult with an attorney in order to best determine your potential rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    If your husband is the biological and legal father of the child and is divorced from the mother, then, given the child's age, under Georgia law he might have a good chance at getting custody. However, at the age of 14 the child does have the right to select their custodial parent, and Absent a finding by a judge that the child's selection would be contrary to the child's best interest, The child's election will likely be controlling. So if she strongly wants to go back to the mother, your husband can fight it if he feels he can show the court that it would be against the child's best interest, but it might be an uphill battle. Your husband needs to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the details of his case and determine the viability of his custody case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    You have a basis to modify the parenting plan based on the fact she was integrated into your home with the consent of the other parent. You should file a petition to modify the parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You stand a good chance. Call me to discuss the situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    You have had her full time, there is a reasonable chance you can keep her full time. The reasonable desire of the child is only one of many factors the court uses to determine what is in the child's best interest. If Dad really wants to put on this fight, I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Your question can't be answered. The parents have ignored a court order for sometime, but that order continues to apply until the court changes it. Whether the current facts and circumstances will convince the judge to modify the previous order isn't something that be easily predicted without a lot more information. The parent needs to consult an attorney about the procedures and expectations involved in seeking modification.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    No one can give you odds, but if you want to seek a change of custody, you need a good lawyer to go to court. Bear in mind that here in Georgia a 14 year old can express a choice, so the case is weak unless the child is agreeable.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/24/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You probably have grounds to petition the court for modification of your parenting plan. The other parent would still be entitled to reasonable visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/24/2011
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