Unless he actually gets emancipated (which seems a waste of time if he is already 17), then your only viable strong option may be filing an action in court to finally establish a custody/visitation schedule that is in your son's best interest. His desires will be factored in given his older age (vs a young kid), but unfortunately they don't dictate because judges are not always convinced that a teenager truly knows what he/she wants when it comes to who to live with, let alone other important life decisions.
I will also add that a POSSIBLE cheaper option is to have an attorney send a strongly-worded demand letter to dad, stressing the reasonableness of your request as well as your son's request, the realities of what the son may do with his own free will if things are not properly addressed, and even the threat of lawsuit at the end if necessary.
Feel free to contact our office to discuss consult options. We have very low rates, discounts, potential payment arrangements, and even virtual options for busy schedules, distant clients, and cheaper prices.
The responses contained herein do not form an attorney-client relationship, nor are they intended to be anything other than the educated opinions of the author. The responses may or may not apply to you and should not be relied upon as ACTUAL legal advice. Rather, what is being provided here is legal information that would be best followed through on with a consult with an attorney after learning more about your specific facts, needs, legal issues, and goals.
Your son is not old enough to choose but having worked as a juvenile prosecutor for several years, your question isn't about custody. His father will likely have trouble reporting him as a runaway and putting him in the system because you DON'T have a custody order. Without one, you have the same rights to your son as he does. Law enforcement and the juvenile justice system won't get involved on that end. However, if he misses school or other things, then they might - although he is older than 16. Without an order, his threat is an empty one.
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