What can I legally do if my daughters father refuses to let her live with me? 22 Answers as of September 02, 2011

My daughter wants to live with me instead of her father. She is 15 yrs. old. Her father tells her she will have nothing if she moves with me. I have moved out of state but have been back for 5 or 6 yrs now and have been involved with my children. I was only out of state for about 3 months. Her father uses me as a punishment when my daughter doesnt do what he asks. For instance he will tell her she can not come and visit me. What chances do we have of her coming to live with me? Yes I live with my mother right now but am planning on getting my own home.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
Parents have a right to have a relationship with their children. If your ex is unjustly denying visitation, you have the right to request that the court review this matter. You might want to consider petitioning for custody modification. I would suggest consulting with an attorney to discuss your rights.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/2/2011
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
What do the Custody and Child Support Orders say that you all must do? If you don't have one and you cannot agree, then file a Custody Complaint. If you are not a danger to her, then your 15 year old child's preference should carry some weight.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Offices of Gregory L. Laurance
Law Offices of Gregory L. Laurance | Anastasia Ganatsios
The following answer assumes that you have final and permanent custody orders currently in place, granting your husband sole or primary physical custody with rights of visitation to you. If you want to change custody and/or visitation orders you need to file an Order to Show Cause (OSC) requesting a modification of the current orders. This means that you fill out the OSC paperwork, then you file the papers with the court to get a court date, then serve the papers on the father so he knows what you are asking for and when he will need to appear in court. You will both be required to meet with a mediator prior to your court date to see if you can resolve this matter out of court. If this fails, you will then have to go to the scheduled court hearing and present your case. It would be best to hire an attorney to do this for you as you may need to present evidence and examine witnesses at your hearing. Also, you will need to demonstrate a "substantial change of circumstances" to justify your request. Luckily, your daughter is at an age where she will be able to testify as to her wishes pursuant to California Family Code Section 3042 which reads in part: (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation. (b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 765 of the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of a child witness so as to protect the best interests of the child. (c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child's best interests. In that case, the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record. If you decide to represent yourself, you should at the very least, go to the Family Law Facilitator at your courthouse and request assistance and guidance with the preparation of your OSC. Some counties have legal aid offices or other organizations that assist people of modest means with family law matters. I do not know what county you are in, but the following is a sample OSC packet for the county I practice in. Your county will have a website where you can access information about procedure, forms, lawyer referral services and local organizations that help people representing themselves. I wish you and your daughter the best. Order to Show Cause Packet PKT-015 (Rev: 07/11)
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2011
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
Have your lawyer file a rule nisi to modify the divorce custody issue. Your daughter is old enough to speak to the judge and express her wishes. Also child support can be obtained to include college money even after her 19th birthday. Don't wait on this or his statement will be true.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/19/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You will need to file a petition to modify the parenting plan. Ask for a GAL so your daughter's preference can be heard.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You must file a petition for a modification of the custody order in the Court that granted the father custody.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you hire a divorce attorney to discuss your rights and options as to a child custody modification action. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    I am assuming that you are divorced and there exists a custody order grating your ex custody. If this is true, then in order to change custody you will have to establish, first, that there has been a substantial change of circumstances or good cause, other than your daughter's preference to change custody, before the court will even consider the case. A change or good cause must be based on, at least, the 12 or 13 factors the court is required to consider in determining what is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    At her age, she would have more of a voice in shaping her future. A motion would need to be filed and a GAL or attorney appointed for her.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    A 15 year old can usually get what she wants. File an OSC and request custody. If your daughter tells the FCS Mediator that she wants to live with you, it is a likely outcome. Always call an attorney to get more specific and helpful answers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Is there a parenting plan? If there is, then, that is the governing document. Unless you and the other parent reach an agreement, then, that parenting plan is what you are stuck with until such time as the court modifies it. Someone who doesn't follow a parenting plan may be guilty of contempt. So, does the parenting plan say that your daughter can come live with you? If it does, then, you have to go to court to enforce that right. If it does not, then, your daughter is not going to come live with you unless either the father agrees or unless the court modifies the parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The fact your daughter wants to live with you is half the battle. At the age of 15, she can make decisions and the court will listen. That does not mean you win with nothing else, but you are half way to the finish line and the race has not started. That said, you have two choices, both involve court. File a Motion for Contempt for refusing to let her visit on your scheduled visitation time (this assumes there are orders and he has violated them) or - and this is the one I propose - file a Motion to Modify and go for primary custody.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You can apply to change the custody arrangement to suit your daughter's wishes.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    It is not clear from your details why the child has apparently been living with the father for many years. Apparently, there is no court order concerning the child and, apparently, you and the father were never married. If there is, in fact, a court order of some kind that gives father specific custody and parenting rights, that order must be changed by the court that first entered it. The court will not change residency merely because a 15 year old wants the change - the judge will have to review all the relevant information to independently decide what is in the child's best interest. What the child wants is relevant, but not decisive. If there has never been any court order affecting the child, that needs to be done now and before the conflict escalates and presents a risk of harm to the child. You need to consult an attorney quickly to get a better understanding of what to expect, based on a discussion of all relevant information. If the daughter has not lived with you for the past 15 years, the chances of suddenly changing things are pretty slim. That does not mean, however, that you cannot be involved in the child's life on whatever conditions the judge believes are in her best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    While the child's wishes are not the only factor considered by the court,the older that the child is at the time the child requests to live with the non custodial parent may impact the courts ultimate determination of the best parenting plan. You should consider a motion to modify the custody order requesting that the child reside with you based on the fact pattern you set out in your question.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You don't state whether you have a parenting plan in place or not. If you do, then the Father cannot interfere with your residential time. If not, then he has no more right to your daughter than you do. However, if you "snatch" your daughter that will likely create chaos and tension for all involved. If you don't have a parenting plan, petition to have one put in place.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    I am assuming that your are divorced, since you did not include that information in your question. If you are divorced and the father has custody but your 15-year old child wants to live with you, she does have the right at that age to decide her custodial parent. You would need to retain an attorney to file a custody modification action. If you are not divorced and there is no court order for custody, then both parents have equal rights and if you can get your child to your house you can just keep her.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Legally you can only file for a change of custody. Your daughter's preference is significant, but only one of many factors the court will use to make its decision about with whom the child should live. Since you have been an active part of the girl's life while you have been here, at least the last 5-6 years, you at least have a right to ask. Your financial condition is not necessarily a deciding factor, either, it again depends on the whole picture and what would be best for the child. Part of the issue may be the other children as well-while you only speak about your daughter, the court may be reluctant to break up siblings unless absolutely necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    In order to change an existing custody order in Minnesota you must meet an elevated standard demonstrating that the child is endangered physically, emotionally or developmentally and that the benefit of the change outweighs the harm caused by the change. Whether or not the endangerment threshold can be met would require more detailed analysis of the facts leading up to the current situation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    the child's preference is only one of many factors. here is some information you may find useful: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Notebooks/Pathfinders/ChildCustody/childcustody .htm The information contained in this email may be confidential and/or legally privileged. It has been sent for the sole use of the intended recipient(s).
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/18/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney