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  1. #1
    mmhoule is offline Junior Member
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    Custody Change after 12 years old

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Wisconsin

    I have 3 children who have lived with their dad since 1999. The youngest is just about 12 (January). They all want to live with me now. Without getting into their story, I guess I just want to know if it IS their decision here in Wisconsin and how do I go about doing this? The oldest will be 15, one is 13 and as I said, the youngest will be 12. I heard it was a fairly simple process that won't stress out the kids. They feel guilty enough about wanting to come here. And does the story of WHY make a big difference? There is no abuse, they are just very unhappy where they are. And SHOULD I get a lawyer?
  2. #2
    dannyt is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhoule View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Wisconsin

    I have 3 children who have lived with their dad since 1999. The youngest is just about 12 (January). They all want to live with me now. Without getting into their story, I guess I just want to know if it IS their decision here in Wisconsin and how do I go about doing this? The oldest will be 15, one is 13 and as I said, the youngest will be 12. I heard it was a fairly simple process that won't stress out the kids. They feel guilty enough about wanting to come here. And does the story of WHY make a big difference? There is no abuse, they are just very unhappy where they are. And SHOULD I get a lawyer?
    untill they are 18, they can experess their wishes, but its up to the judge, not them to decide.` and theyll have to have a compelling reason for the change in living arrangements.being unhappy will probaly not be enought to warrant a change. they may just have to stick it out untill theyre 18.
  3. #3
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    They get to choose where they live - when they turn 18.

    Until then, 'best interests of the child' prevails. You would have to show the court that:

    1. there's a change in circumstances that justifies a change in custody

    and

    2. the children would be better off with you (using facts, not teen angst)

    I don't see any reason to believe that you could pass either of those hurdles.

    But feel free to give your 'reasons' to a local attorney or post them here if you think that there is justification.
  4. #4
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    Children don't get to choose where they live.... only adults do.

    Therefore, until the children become 18 years old, they stay where their parents and/or the court tells them to stay.

    Yes, you can file for a change in custody where you assume the role of custodial parent.

    However, what is the material change in circumstance that requires the change? In other words, there has to be more to the custody petition than "they don't want to live with their dad anymore"... especially if dad will fight the loss of the children.

    So, what is the change in circumstance that requires a change in custody in the middle of a school year? Will the children be changing schools?
  5. #5
    mmhoule is offline Junior Member
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    I thought they could choose at 12 in Wisconsin. You're sure it's 18?
  6. #6
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhoule View Post
    I thought they could choose at 12 in Wisconsin. You're sure it's 18?
    Who told you that?

    [url=http://www.attorneyriley.com/ChildCustody.html]Child Custody & Physical Placement - Legal & Physical Custody - Wisconsin Laws - Madison WI Divorce & Custody Attorney[/url]

    Children get to express a preference. The older they are and the more mature their development, the more the preference will be listened to, but pre-teens are probably not going to have much influence on the decision. And they certainly can't choose.
  7. #7
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    Children of 12 can't choose if they go to school, if they drink, if they drive or if they can own a handgun.

    Why would you think they get to choose their parents?

    I am not saying that the kids will not get their say in court... I am saying their say is not binding upon the court.

    Still waiting to hear the change in circumstance that would even allow this to be heard.
  8. #8
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    I am going to point out something that has already been established here, many times.

    Sometimes, in some states, and/or with some judges the child's wishes at 12 or older, are considered to be a "change in circumstance" that allows the case to be heard. Judges are also permitted to give some weight to the wishes of older children, which is established in the best interests standards of most states.

    Therefore, older children's wishes can have some impact. That doesn't mean that they get to choose, it simply means that their wishes can factor into a judge's decision.

    If a judge does factor in an older child's wishes, the WHY will absolutely matter.
  9. #9
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhoule View Post
    I thought they could choose at 12 in Wisconsin. You're sure it's 18?
    I'm in WI, and my 13 year old wants to live with her Aunt in CA because she's "more fun", and when she visits there they do only fun stuff all the time, like bike across the Golden Gate bridge!

    I sure HOPE 12 or 13 year olds in WI CANNOT decide where to live! (LOL!)
  10. #10
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistoffolees View Post
    Who told you that?

    [url=http://www.attorneyriley.com/ChildCustody.html]Child Custody & Physical Placement - Legal & Physical Custody - Wisconsin Laws - Madison WI Divorce & Custody Attorney[/url]

    Children get to express a preference. The older they are and the more mature their development, the more the preference will be listened to, but pre-teens are probably not going to have much influence on the decision. And they certainly can't choose.

    While you are (of course) correct....in this case with there being THREE kids with the oldest being 15 and the youngest being 12...I can see a judge taking their combined preference quite a bit more seriously than if it were just one child.

    Assuming of course the judge doesn't think the kids are being completely coached....
  11. #11
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    While you are (of course) correct....in this case with there being THREE kids with the oldest being 15 and the youngest being 12...I can see a judge taking their combined preference quite a bit more seriously than if it were just one child.
    I agree - which is why I said that the older the kids and the more mature their reasoning, the more likely the judge is to listen.

    But even if there are 20 kids, they don't simply get to decide where they live just because they're 12 years old.

    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    Assuming of course the judge doesn't think the kids are being completely coached....
    The same thought crossed my mind. Or that the kids are simply telling Mom what she wants to hear.
  12. #12
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistoffolees View Post
    I agree - which is why I said that the older the kids and the more mature their reasoning, the more likely the judge is to listen.

    But even if there are 20 kids, they don't simply get to decide where they live just because they're 12 years old.



    The same thought crossed my mind. Or that the kids are simply telling Mom what she wants to hear.
    Those are good points, but when its 3 of them all having the same preference, its also a lot less likely that there is any coaching or telling mom what she wants to hear, going on. When there are three, there is usually at least one holdout in the group.

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