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My daughter is 16, living with her mentally, emotionally and physically abusive father in Ma. She wants to relocate with me to

Palmer, MA |

S.C. Can she come with me and do I need a court order? We have joint custody. He's a monster. He was sued for discrimination years back and when they couldnt get any assets they sued me for the house etc, So I transferred all assets into his name then he stole the house out from under me by putting it in a trust. Today i went to pack my many things plus furniture left to me by my Mother and he called the cops to the house and a NO TRESPASS ORDER was issued. He wants it all.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

The simple answer to your simple, initial question is that you need either his agreement (which I would strongly recommend that you get in writing to defend against a future contempt), or a court judgment.

The more complicated answer is that the Court is well aware that teenagers 'vote with their feet'. So the decision of your 16 year old will carry substantial weight. Also, whether you have joint custody from a temporary order or a final divorce or paternity judgment will also be very important.

If there is still a pending divorce and therefore no judgment resolving property division, then you continue to have interest in the house. Your explanation is a little confusing; if he was sued for discrimination, transferring assets into his name is the _last_ thing you would want to do. Depending on the circumstances of the creation and existence of the trust, you may be able to reclaim it and your interest in it through an action for the fraudulent transfer of the property and/or a claim for an equitable interest in the trust.

Also, a "no trespass" order does not require Court review; if there is a pending divorce proceeding, you can get a temporary order from the Court ordering him to revoke the order. (The situation is different if this is an abuse prevention order with a 'no trespass' provision or other civil 'no trespass' order.)

I see three important issues here: (1) custody of your daughter, removal to S.C., and any resulting parenting plan; (2) property division, if there has been no judgment of divorce; and (3) domestic violence perpetrated against you. You absolutely need to consult with a lawyer about your options.

The lawyer will want to see any judgments or orders from the Court ,any Motions, Affidavits, and/or Memoranda filed with the Court, and the most recent financial statements filed with the Court. If there is or has been DCF involvement, copies of the DCF reports will be invaluable as well.

Good luck and talk to a lawyer - soon. Many lawyers such as myself do not charge for an initial consultation. You should speak to 2 or 3 at least before taking any action.

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I am very sorry for your troubles.

However, having said that, the facts you set forth do not really make much sense. Specifically, if he was sued for discrimination, it makes no sense that you would transfer your assets to him -- your facts seem to indicate that you transferred these assets because he had none, so this peson went after your assets, howeve, if you transferred your assets to him, then he did have assets.

My colleaguesand I would like to help, but it would be most helpful if you could clarify what actually happened so that we can offer meaningful advice that might be of some assistance to you.

In the meantime, and setting that issue aside, if you have joint custody here in Massachusetts, you will need to file a complaint for modifcation, requesting permission for you to relocate to South Carolina, which typically will be allowed if this will afford you a higher standard of living for you and your daughter. At age 16, your daughter is certainly of an age where her opinion in all of this matters.

Best wishes to you.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.


The most important question you ask here is about change of custody and do you need a court order. You already have an order of joint custody. You should contact a family lawyer in Ma. to get this started and see what, if anything, you need to do there. You may have to file a modification petition to have custody transferred to you because unless the father agrees to it, you'll need a court order. Your daughter is going to want to talk to the judge in one way or another, and perhaps she'll need to testify, but because of her age, she will be listened to. Courts want to do what is in the best interest of the child, but when the child is a teenager, best interests are often dependent on the child's age. That is, the court will listen to her and give her input a lot of weight. She needs to discuss the abuse that he is putting her through. Your attorney will help you in this case. Whether you have to be physically present will be up to the court but your lawyer can advise you of that. Some courts do telephonic appearances although I would never recommend it. Best of luck to you.

If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly. The answers provided here do not, under any circumstances, create a lawyer-client relationship and are provided to supply a general answer based on the facts as given by the author. The above attorney is not giving advice but is answering the question in general terms. At all times, the above attorney will advise the author of the question to seek independent legal counsel. The above answers should not be relied upon by the author or by anyone else for the authoritative answer to the question; consult with your own lawyer for your legal questions.

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