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I am a step mom in wi and my husband and i are getting a divorce. My step son wants to live with me instead of his father

Rhinelander, WI |

My stepson has stated that he wants to live with me and only visit with his father. There are valid reasons for this. His father has an active case at this point for a 2nd DWI and another charge. Father is sending our son to peoples house who have mentally and emotionally turned this childs world upside down. He has ADHD and possible bipolar (Has not yet been tested for latter). Needs counseling and tutoring which his father will not provide. Needs more stable living environment. His father has a drug problem and has a close relationship with someone who has a record with drugs. How can I do something to help him and give him a better life. I believe I can do this and if asked by a judge my 8 year old step son would tell a judge the truth about anything he was asked.

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Attorney answers 2


You should consult with an attorney to determine what all of your options are. It is possible but may be very difficult. Keep in mind that an 8 year old does not get to make a decision as to where he gets to live but the courts do look at what is in the best interests of the child. Good luck.


You are in a very difficult situation. In your summation of the facts, you did not mention where your step-son's mother is. Is she in the picture? Deceased? If mom is not in the picture then I believe you would have to seek guardianship of your stepson. This process is done through children's court as opposed to family court. In order to obtain guardianship you would have to prove that your soon to be ex-husband is an unfit father. You should consult with an attorney who specialized in the juvenile code to assist you with this. If mom is in the picture then your situation is complicated more by having to prove both parents unfit.

Non-lawyer suggestion - no matter what happens make sure your step son knows that you are always going to be there for him no matter what. You don't have to be this child's "mother" to have a positive influence on his life. Best wishes!!!



The mother left when he was a baby. She never looked back. There were a few times i heard she had paid 30 - 60 dollars for child support but that is it. My son has no idea who she is, what she looks like or that he has half-siblings

Rebecca Millenbach

Rebecca Millenbach


Since that is the case, I'm sure you would have no problem terminating her rights. Your struggle will be with your ex. I would consult with a children's attorney so you are well advised of your rights.

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