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  1. #1
    adrianne Guest

    Question Rights of Children at Age 14 in CA

    What is the name of your state? California - Do children have a legal right to choose to live with a non-biological parent over that of their biological parents? If so, does it require significant reasoning on that of the child in reaching their decision? I am the biological mother and share 50/50 custody of my 14 yr old son with his father who has recently split from his wife. Our son wants to stay with his step-mother because she is keeping the house and his half-brothers. The father has moved out and agreed to leave our child with her without consulting me! Can my son decide to live there at age 14 without my formal consent? What rights do I have?
  2. #2
    hexeliebe Guest
    The court, not you, not your ex and not your son, has the only right in this matter to decide where your son will live.
  3. #3
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Not quite. If the (bio)parents are in agreement, then they CAN make that decision and it's likely the court will go along with it. However, if one or the other DOESN'T agree, the thing to do is take it to court for the judge to decide. But a 14 yo can't make that decision.
  4. #4
    adrianne Guest
    What about custody during the time before it is presented to a judge? Does the person who has the temporary custody have more rights/leverage? Who determines who gets custody in this period?
  5. #5
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    I believe that until there's a court order changing the 50/50 arrangement, either of you are free to designate someone for the child's care during your 50%. I'd check with a lawyer, tho.
  6. #6
    businessjustice Guest
    Adrianne,

    if the child is not in your care, or your ex husband's, that is from a legal standpoint, kidnapping, as the NEW soon to be exwife holds no legal right to the child.

    You and the new ex can discuss some type of informal visitation arrangment once thier divorce is final so that your son can maintain a relationship with his half brothers, but, in the meantime, I HIGHLY suggest you threaten kidnapping charges if the child is not put in your care immediately.

    A child can be listended to in the courts, yes, but ONLY in regards to biological parent choice, and even then it is only part of the consideration.

    When you do go to court, (for change in custody due to substantial change in ciricumstance on the father's part) make sure the judge knows it is your every intention to continue the relationship with the half-brothers, but use the fact the father was ready and willing to give up his visitation time to the step-mother, instead of retaining it himself, clearly showing the 50/50 is not being utilized in the manner so intended, to change it to joint custody, primary legal/custodial with you.
  7. #7
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Originally posted by businessjustice
    Adrianne,

    if the child is not in your care, or your ex husband's, that is from a legal standpoint, kidnapping, as the NEW soon to be exwife holds no legal right to the child.
    I suspect this is hogwash IF the father gives his permission on his time only. If it infringes on Adrianne's time, it's a different story. Otherwise, grandparents, daycare providers, family friends, etc would not be able to take care of the kids, either.
  8. #8
    businessjustice Guest
    the way her post is worded, he is giving ALL of his custody time to the step-mother, with nothing said about seeing his son. This is NOT in the spirit of 50/50. Yes, he has the right to dictate child care, but with the understanding that most, if not ALL overnights would be in the father's care. Which is not the case. That goes well beyond "child-care", "baby-sitting" or other relative visitation.

    In this case, she has the right to persue a new custody arrangement, and demand that the child be in her care until such time as it is changed/established as in the terms of 50/50, you are to consult on EVERYTHING, and be in MUTUAL agreement.

    It IS a form of legal kidnapping, It won't necessarily be called that, but it is.
  9. #9
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Well, hopefully IAAL (who does practice in CA) will amble along and weigh in). It would surprise me if Adrianne got anywhere with a kidnapping threat/charge.
  10. #10
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    I would say its time to change the custody, but kidnaping sounds like an extreme way to make a point if things were relatively amicable until now.....
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  11. #11
    businessjustice Guest
    Whoa whoa whoa

    You guys are taking what I said out of context.

    I never said to CHARGE her with kidnapping, but said technically, it is a form of "LEGAL kidnapping". (meaning a way to circumvent law) If she wanted to be ballsy, she could threaten the SM with it and make her hand the child over...that's all I meant. Never said it was something to actually take action on.

    To reiterate: She needs to file for a change in custody based on substantial change in circumstance (on her ex's part) and ask for temporary full custody until such time as a decision is made.

    He can't give 100% care & control of the child on his time to the soon to be ex wife and still maintain a sound 50/50 agreement, it is not in the spirit of what that agreement is made for.

    Is that a bit clearer?
  12. #12
    haiku is offline Senior Member
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    Originally posted by businessjustice
    Whoa whoa whoa

    You guys are taking what I said out of context.

    I never said to CHARGE her with kidnapping, but said technically, it is a form of "LEGAL kidnapping". (meaning a way to circumvent law) If she wanted to be ballsy, she could threaten the SM with it and make her hand the child over...that's all I meant. Never said it was something to actually take action on.

    To reiterate: She needs to file for a change in custody based on substantial change in circumstance (on her ex's part) and ask for temporary full custody until such time as a decision is made.

    He can't give 100% care & control of the child on his time to the soon to be ex wife and still maintain a sound 50/50 agreement, it is not in the spirit of what that agreement is made for.

    Is that a bit clearer?
    Wouldn't it have been easier to just say "show up at step moms for your regular visit to get the child" I don't think any threats need to made unless step mom does not hand over kid. And then depending on the wording of the agreement could she not hand the child back to the step mom, while she filed emergency modification for custody?

    much less inflammatory, don't you think?
    "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men." Frederick Douglas
  13. #13
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Originally posted by haiku
    much less inflammatory, don't you think?
    Just a bit.
  14. #14
    businessjustice Guest
    I'm a lawyer myself, although I no longer practice family law, just business now, so when I talk in terms of "legal kidnapping" it is not from the same perspective you would have and I forget on occasion when on boards to type less as a "lawyer".

    my faux pas.

    I gather from the post however, that there will be confrontation about it. So there is a very good chance the SM won't hand the child over, regardless. It never should have even been a question. There is obvious deception going on since everyting was discussed behind her back.

    In any event Adrianne, good luck to you, don't let the SM try to replace you as mother, as it seems she is trying to do and your ex is advocating it.
  15. #15
    adrianne Guest
    Thank you for all of the feedback... To clear some things up - the father is not having my son overnight - she is. They did not tell me on purpose, I assume, to avoid him losing custody since now he is out of the house and she is the primary caretaker of the boys. She works however and I recently found out that her mother is watching the children during the day, so he is not attempting to use her as a means of daycare. What is outrageous to me is that they would keep this a secret and not consult this with me and would allow my son to make this decision. I believe that this was probably proposed to him out of context and without implications; i.e., do you want to live here (w/SM) or go with me? I doubt highly that they would offer to let him come to live with me as an option. I would not be able to threaten them with kidnapping, but I am going to challenge this arrangement and talk to the SM about her intentions. I have not been able to get her to talk to me thus far. Now that my son thinks he can stay there, when I put a stop to this, I will be the "bad-guy" and that is probably why they didn't tell me... so they can look responsbile and I will look like the one who is exaggerating the situation. To make matters worse, the father has told me that she is already dating and may end up with this new guy and he doesn't care, he said. I am married, am a house wife and have an 11 yo daughter (my son's half sister) and 2 dogs, etc. We live a fairly normal to boring life and I cannot fathom why my ex would rather put my son in her care over mine, realistically it was probably out of spite and holding onto the trophy (my son). It is so sad and frustrating. This is a chlids life at stake.

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