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  1. #1
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    MO - Modification of Custody 15 y/o

    What is the name of your state? Missouri

    Child is 15.
    Joint custody - w majority of time spent with father.

    Mother has had previous issues with denied visitations, visitations time shortened. Mother tried working around school schedules, etc. But that has now expanded to anything that the child would like to schedule during mom's time. Father allowing child to do other things and not having child available during mothers visitations. (documentation by police department - only log entry verifications because the local departments do not "want to be involved" in civil matters.)

    Child now calls mother with "your options for my visit". I got something I want to do and can be there at this time, or you reschedule. When can you reschedule? Actually stated that weekends are booked from now until school ends and that summer time would have to work around his schedule and camps.

    Father stated that it's not moms time or dads time, its childs time and just deal with it.

    There are other issues of fathers inability to provide for the child -- grandparents are supporting fathers household currently (rent, utilities, bills, etc) and mother is helping to provide incidentals for child (clothing, school supplies, etc) on top of the child support paid to father. Mother hadn't pursued the issue previously because between mom and grandpa everything was provided.


    ===================

    Missouri listens to a child at 10, if they can express their desires with rational reasoning. The childs expressed desires is to stay at dads and show up if and when he wants to. His reasoning is that he can not help that events are scheduled on moms time.

    Mother wants to repair the damage already done to mother/child relationship and prevent further damage from occuring.

    All of the ground work to allow a modification is there --- denied visitations, fathers interference with mother/child relationship, along with fathers inability to provide for child.

    I have heard everything imaginable.....He's 15, you can't force him to visit.

    Is a modification even logical at this age?
    Last edited by Ambr; 09-10-2007 at 05:30 PM.
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Mom needs to take dad to court for contempt. The situation is out of control and dad needs to understand his legal responsibilities.
  3. #3
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambr View Post

    Missouri listens to a child at 10, if they can express their desires with rational reasoning.
    This is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT true!!!!!

    Missouri does NOT acknowledge an age at which a child will be allowed to speak about their preferences. Missouri is VERY supportive of the idea of a GAL being appointed to ascertain what is in the best interests of the child, and that OCCASIONALLY includes determining the child's wishes. But a child of ANY age will not be allowed to testify or speak to the judge about their wishes. And CERTAINLY not at 10.
  4. #4
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJane View Post
    This is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT true!!!!!

    Missouri does NOT acknowledge an age at which a child will be allowed to speak about their preferences. Missouri is VERY supportive of the idea of a GAL being appointed to ascertain what is in the best interests of the child, and that OCCASIONALLY includes determining the child's wishes. But a child of ANY age will not be allowed to testify or speak to the judge about their wishes. And CERTAINLY not at 10.
    Child's wishes as to custodian, how determined.

    Missouri Revised Statutes 452.385. The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to his custodian and relevant matters within his knowledge. The court shall permit counsel to be present at the interview and to participate therein. The court shall cause a record of the interview to be made and to be made part of the record in the case.

    The last time the case went to court, the judge stated that he would listen to the wishes of the child. (Child was 10 at the time) as long as the child was strong in his feelings and convictions and it was more than just because.
  5. #5
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    Mom needs to take dad to court for contempt. The situation is out of control and dad needs to understand his legal responsibilities.
    I guess it's the age of the child that is making it hard to picture.

    I can see contempt charges being brought and a judge arranging make up visitation, etc if the child was younger. And I know that different judges view things different and rule differently.

    I guess I was wondering what the chance of a favorable outcome would be. Is it common for judges to enforce the visitation with the child is 15 years old?

    The child doesn't hate the mother or want no contact with the mother at all. The child is basically working the parents -- what's going to be the funniest thing to do this week and go do it.
  6. #6
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambr View Post
    Is it common for judges to enforce the visitation with the child is 15 years old?
    I've seen it in my state, plenty. No info on MO, though.
  7. #7
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambr View Post
    Child's wishes as to custodian, how determined.

    Missouri Revised Statutes 452.385. The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to his custodian and relevant matters within his knowledge. The court shall permit counsel to be present at the interview and to participate therein. The court shall cause a record of the interview to be made and to be made part of the record in the case.
    That 'may' in there is VERY often (in fact, in EVERY CASE I HAVE EVER SEEN) a 'WILL NOT'.

    The last time the case went to court, the judge stated that he would listen to the wishes of the child. (Child was 10 at the time) as long as the child was strong in his feelings and convictions and it was more than just because.
    And DID the judge listen to the child? Or did he simply indicate that he was willing to? Because I HAVE seen that statement used to get a parent to shut the hell up in court.

    Honestly, if you're telling me that a 10 year old testified in chambers as to his preferences, it will be the FIRST case I've EVER heard of in this state where that happened.
  8. #8
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJane View Post
    This is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT true!!!!!

    Missouri does NOT acknowledge an age at which a child will be allowed to speak about their preferences. Missouri is VERY supportive of the idea of a GAL being appointed to ascertain what is in the best interests of the child, and that OCCASIONALLY includes determining the child's wishes. But a child of ANY age will not be allowed to testify or speak to the judge about their wishes. And CERTAINLY not at 10.
    A GAL question for Missouri.

    Understanding that GALs can be appointed ANY time where custody, visitation or support of a child is a contested issue or when there are allegations of abuse or neglect. ANd that each parent is entitled to one disqualification for any reason and additional disqualifications for good cause.

    If the mother were to pursue contempt and possible modification -- could she hire a second attorney to represent the child?

    There are two GALs that our county utilizes, one has represented the father and the fathers family on various matters, but specifically the father during the original custody hearing. The second is a member of the legislature and IMO does not have the time available to represent the child and do the job of the GAL in the manner it should be performed.
  9. #9
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJane View Post
    That 'may' in there is VERY often (in fact, in EVERY CASE I HAVE EVER SEEN) a 'WILL NOT'.



    And DID the judge listen to the child? Or did he simply indicate that he was willing to? Because I HAVE seen that statement used to get a parent to shut the hell up in court.

    Honestly, if you're telling me that a 10 year old testified in chambers as to his preferences, it will be the FIRST case I've EVER heard of in this state where that happened.

    Welcome to the first.

    A GAL did testify to the desires of the child in court, but the father wanted the child to be heard and kept pushing. The judge DID take the child (10 at the time) to chambers and the child was interviewed by the Judge and the fathers attorney. Mother's attorney politely declined stating that he did not wish to put the child in that situation.

    IM me and I can give county and specifics.
  10. #10
    CJane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambr View Post
    If the mother were to pursue contempt and possible modification -- could she hire a second attorney to represent the child?
    Yes, but...

    There are two GALs that our county utilizes, one has represented the father and the fathers family on various matters, but specifically the father during the original custody hearing. The second is a member of the legislature and IMO does not have the time available to represent the child and do the job of the GAL in the manner it should be performed.
    You'd be better off requesting that a GAL be appointed, and that the GAL be from a different county. You shouldn't have to disqualify the one since there's an obvious conflict of interest (assuming you mean she/he was Dad's Attorney, and not the GAL originally appointed) and the second one you CAN disqualify, stating their involvement in 'other matters'.

    I know that the GAL in my case is from Platte County (where Stupidhead and I reside), but was working a case in Ray County and one in Bates County at the time she was representing my children. They can and do cross county lines.
  11. #11
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambr View Post
    I guess it's the age of the child that is making it hard to picture.

    I can see contempt charges being brought and a judge arranging make up visitation, etc if the child was younger. And I know that different judges view things different and rule differently.

    I guess I was wondering what the chance of a favorable outcome would be. Is it common for judges to enforce the visitation with the child is 15 years old?

    The child doesn't hate the mother or want no contact with the mother at all. The child is basically working the parents -- what's going to be the funniest thing to do this week and go do it.
    Heck, judges will enforce visitation with 17 years olds...let alone 15 year olds.

    I know of a CO case where a 17 year old got early admission into college and was able to take summer school classes for college credit, and mom got fined 5k for denying dad's summer visitation....despite the fact that the 17 year old was anxious to begin college.

    The bottom line is that teens don't get to choose about visitation. There is a slight chance that they might get some input in to the schedule, but that's truly rare unless there is some parental dysfunction on the part of the ncp.

    However, at the same time I do think that ncps should be flexible with teens...simply because the last thing they should want is for the teen to see age 18 as "freedom from the ncp day".
  12. #12
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    Heck, judges will enforce visitation with 17 years olds...let alone 15 year olds.

    I know of a CO case where a 17 year old got early admission into college and was able to take summer school classes for college credit, and mom got fined 5k for denying dad's summer visitation....despite the fact that the 17 year old was anxious to begin college.
    That's what mom gets for being Queen Of Visitation, and making plans without including or consulting Dad. I read that, and laughed and laughed and laughed...

    Betcha $5K that it was NOT the FIRST summer she'd screwed around with Dad's time.
  13. #13
    majomom1 is offline Senior Member
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    Father allowing child to do other things and not having child available during mothers visitations. (documentation by police department - only log entry verifications because the local departments do not "want to be involved" in civil matters.)
    I have a similar situation going, also in MO. Here is the thread if you would like: I don't have any solid decisions from court yet, I hope to have a hearing date soon.

    [url]http://forum.freeadvice.com/showthread.php?t=374274[/url]

    I have sole physical and my ex is refusing to return my son, based on him being 16 and he thinks our son can choose. He has also filed a motion to modify to get physical.

    I will have a pretty good answer for you real soon, as I am about to go to court for this. According to my attorney, the judge might hear what the child has to say, but they will not necessarily decide based on that. My attorney is requesting that my kids not be allowed in court at all, because my issue is not whom the live with. In my case, it changes schools and states, which makes it a different scenario and the kids do not get to choose these.
    My issue is we are the adults and we make the decisions. If my ex cannot make his case without the kids, then he shouldn't get any change in modification.

    They will enforce the visitation issue. I am going in with the basis that our court order is valid until he is 18 and I am obligated and responsible until he is 18, so I want my rights.

    My ex is claiming that he cannot force our 16 year old to see me... my response to that is that my ex, a PARENT does not need to use force of any kind. Our son is old enough to make some choices... he is also old enough to follow instructions, so dad needs to say "Ask your mom, it's on her time." I am seeking penalties if my ex interferes or overrides anything during my parenting time, without consulting me first.

    Law enforcement in my county is awful too. When you report the violations get the officer's name and badge #. Demand a police report # right on the spot. I learned that one the hard way. They will not file it on their own, but if you demand that police report # they have to.

    Modification will be up to you, but perhaps if you file contempt and get your time, then maybe you can gain the time and opportunity to repair the rest. Look at filing a Motion for Family Access Order with the contempt and see if that will help. This motion has check boxes that you can request specific things.. ie... He pays for counseling to repair your relationship with your son; requests that he attend counseling on the importance of providing a continuing and meaningful relationship with the other parent; you can request he be fined; and ask that he pay the attorney and court costs.

    This is what I have filed... As soon as I have an answer, I will be posting the results here.
  14. #14
    Ambr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by majomom1 View Post
    Law enforcement in my county is awful too. When you report the violations get the officer's name and badge #. Demand a police report # right on the spot. I learned that one the hard way. They will not file it on their own, but if you demand that police report # they have to.
    Previously, The excuse that local law enforcement used was that the order says what should happen, but without an order from the judge specifically telling them to remove the child from one parent and place the child with the other parent, that they would not get involved.

    Last go around, it was specifically worded in the order that if visitation is denied law enforcement SHALL enforce parenting time by removing the child from CP and placing with NCP. Only out was if they thought the child would be hurt.

    Local law enforcement still refused.

    We asked to file a report and requested that they make a report (after all they did make contact with CP and was advised that child was not at home and would not go on visitation). Officer refused to make a report. They wouldn't even allow us to make a Voluntary Statement Report.

    Followed up with the Chief of Police the following Monday -- to report the officers comments and request a report be made. There were no journal log entries showing that we had ever contacted the local department or that they had made contact with the CP. They don't get involved with civil matters.

    Oh yeah...my favorite excuse....when you ask to file a report for the possibility of charges (Interference with Custody). Those are state charges and we are a municipality. When you go to the county (where the state charges go through), they tell you the event occurred within the city limits and falls under city jurisdiction. That the city should take the report and present it to their prosecutor who then refers it to the county for charges to be filed at the state level.

    Good luck with that one to. Can't get the report to present.
    Last edited by Ambr; 09-10-2007 at 07:03 PM.
  15. #15
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverplum View Post
    That's what mom gets for being Queen Of Visitation, and making plans without including or consulting Dad. I read that, and laughed and laughed and laughed...

    Betcha $5K that it was NOT the FIRST summer she'd screwed around with Dad's time.
    Honestly, it actually WAS the only time that dad's summer visitation got messed with at all....and the child still went, just followed her siblings a few weeks later (after the summer school session ended).

    The judge in question hit her that hard because it was dad's last summer with the child....and the judge didn't think that early college credits were as important as spending that last summer with dad....and the child was already over 18 and well into her first full year of college when the ruling got handed down.

    Unfortunately that ended up backfiring on dad.....because the later 18 year old resented the heck out of him for doing that.....and when the poster stopped posting on the board in question, dad and the then 19 year old still had not reconciled.

    So yeah...dad got the satifaction of making mom pay for not saying no to early college credit and forcing the child to give up that summer session....but dad also screwed up his relationship with the adult child getting that "satisfaction".

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