I have joint legal and physical custody of my 13 yr. old son. He is in Illinois with me currently, but is expected to go back to his father. I bought his plane ticket and his dad put him on the plane. We have a CA court order, but it is over three years old and stipulates that my son go to elementary school in Fairfield. My son has been in junior high for the last two years, and is going into the 8th grade! He has run away from his father twice in the last month, now he is with me, and refuses to go back. I want him to stay here, but I know I can't keep him without getting an RFO and a new court order. Is there ANY way my son can have a say in where he lives (He'll be 14 this summer) ? His father has been physically, mentally and emotionally abusive. Please help me help my child.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
The only way to change the current orders is to file your RFO. You can do that on an exparte basis (24 hour notice to Father, and appear in Court.) Your son is 13. His wishes wil be given some weight. You can ask that your son speak with the Judge, testify in open court, talk to an evaluator, or request the appointment of Minor's Counsel.
You could also file for a REstraining Order against the other parent, if the other parent is abusing your son.
Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. **************CAUTION*************** CAUTION*************** CAUTION ****************** CAUTION************ Readers should be cautioned that AVVO cannot be relied on as they have a corrupt and dishonest rating system. AVVO routinely allows "client reviews" to be posted by individuals that are not "real" clients. AVVO does not ensure that the public receives truthful accurate information.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
If in fact your child's father has been abusive and you can prove that, and if you believe your child will run away, you should file a request for an order so that you can modify the last order. Abuse of any kind should never be tolerated, and if in fact he abused your son, there is no way your son should be with him. However, it will be up to the court to determine whether abuse has happened. You should seek a competent family lawyer to help you with your case. Your lawyer will know what to file for you and how to prove the abuse that you allege. Your son's safety could depend on this, so it is important for you to seek an experienced family lawyer in the best interests of your child. The court will take your son's wishes into consideration because of his age and as long as you haven't coached him. Your lawyer will advise you about different ways your son can talk to the judge. This is a good question and by all means, you should protect your son. The fact that your son runs away should tell you a lot.
Tina Tran, Esq. is licensed to practice law in the State of California. Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship with Tina Tran, Esq. To schedule a consultation, please call (925) 357-0431. www.tinatranlaw.com Thank you.