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Will the judge take the child's opinion into consideration on a custody hearing?

My young, aged 8, stepson decided that we needed to have a family meeting. A family meeting that involved me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend. So they come over here and SS announces that he no longer wants to visit his mother. My husband has primary custody and she gets weekly visitation. He has been telling DH and I that he was unhappy there for a while now, but apparently decided he had had enough. He wasn't even polite about it. He came right out and said "Mom, I don't think I should see you anymore. I don't want to see you anymore. You are mean and you don't like it when I come over anyway." So, she threw a big fit, which I can understand, about how this is all my fault. I assure you all, he has never heard a foul word about her come out of my mouth. This is all stuff he is getting to on his own. In any case, DH wants to go back to court so that SS can be heard by a judge. I don't know that it will make a difference.


Asked by Anonymous at 6:27 PM on Jan. 13, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • You can file in court like I said but no they wont take what he wants into account. Not at 8. I am in the same situation so I feel your pain. My son lives with his dad and doesnt want to because his dad is abusive. The judge wont let my son testify because he is too young to do so and have any involvement in the decision. I even tried making video tapes so the judge could see and that was used against me saying I was somehow forcing him to say these things when I was not. In any case just talk to your lawyer, document everything when it happens and check and see what audio recording laws are in your state. If you can catch her being an ass on the phone and play it to a judge that goes a long way. Just remember its illegal to tape convos betwen son and her.

    Answer by gemgem at 6:45 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • At 8 no. In fact dont be surprised if you do go to court that his attitude isnt used against you and your dh. Judges are funny that way and always seem to think kids get their ideas from the custodial parents even if they dont. At 8 he still needs to have both parents in his life. He is too young to make those decisions and I am surprised you and dh would go along with it? Kids never want to go to certain parents homes and there can be many reasons, but they have to. In the end it is better for them.

    Answer by gemgem at 6:30 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • call your attorney and ask him/her if there has ever been a case like this and what your odds are of winning --for SS.

    Answer by KARRIEMARIE at 6:30 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • OP here

    Ever since she came back into his life, about 3 years ago, he has been unhappy with her and her boyfriend of the week. She bounces from house to house, wherever her boyfriend happens to be sleeping that night, because she doesn't have her own place. She doesn't work, and lives off of whoever she can. SS have no type of routine there and spends all of his time there locked in his room playing video games, which she admits to. She will take her boyfriend to work, then go and pick up her mother or her friends and hang out with them all day and make SS play in his room. We have gone back to the judge multiple times to get visitation modified, but he says that since there is no real evidence of neglect or anything, that there is nothing that he can do.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:40 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • Cont from above
    Over the holidays, she wanted him two nights in a row for Thanksgiving and he cried and cried until she finally said "That's fine. I don't want him if he is going to be a little F'ing baby about it." She has forgotten him multiple times, has left with other people so that she could go out, has left him in the car while she goes inside to people's houses. Once, we drove by and saw him sitting out in her car and we parked in an empty lot and waited for her to come out of the house. It was literally 25 minutes later that she came out. DH ran across the street and told her that he was taking SS home since she couldn't be bothered with him anyway. She has called to cancel her weekly visit if she knows he is sick or if she has plans, like a friend's birthday. We don't think that she is good influence on him and we have been fighting to get her visitation supervised.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:40 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • So she's leaving him alone at the house...and he's only 8? Um...that sounds like grounds to me! No talking to the judge for the boy. (that's illegal in most states at that age!)

    Document, document, document EVERY thing. Don't ask him questions, wait for him to offer information and record it (without him knowing) the less he's involved in the mess, the better.

    Check into taping laws in your state... I know in some states recorded conversations can be used in court as long as ONE of the parties knows about it. Record HER do NOT record the boy! But record her saying some of the things she says and how she acts....

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 7:24 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • I realize that this completely contradicts what the first person wrote, so I hope that you don't get too many mixed signals, but it will depend on the Judge. When I was 8 we went through a custody hearing that I started because I wanted to move in with my Father. My Mother was allowed to have my Sister and I the night before the hearing where she completely berated us. We were supposed to go in and meet with Judge in private. The Lawyers attended, I got scared that my Mom would find out what I said about her so I decided to try and say something that was truthful and stated that I thought I should probably stay with my Mother because she needed someone to take care of her. Instead of a red flag he told the whole courtroom how cute it was and then awarded custody to my Mother. Of course, that was a trillion years ago so take that into consideration too.

    Answer by MrsManners at 7:46 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • As mentioned before...DOCUMENT! That can not be stressed enough. If she does not show up then write it on a calendar (keep one that is just for this purpose), if she is late write that down too -what time she was scheduled to show up, what time she did show up. I don't promote cell phones for kids, but in this case then he can have one for calling the police if he ever feels he needs to (let them come get him... that will speak more loudly to the judge).
    Once you have the opportunity to gather some information, then perhaps your SS could talk to a lawyer to get his moms rights revoked.

    Answer by indigostone at 9:12 PM on Jan. 13, 2009

  • Nope, not in Texas unless the child is 12 or older, then they can petition the courts to choose who'd they'd like to live with.

    Answer by babycakes254 at 9:01 AM on Jan. 14, 2009