At age 14, a child does have some input into where they live. But it really depends on overall circumstances. In order to change custody, you have to get a change in the custody order. If you and the mother informally decide to allow the son to move in with you, remember that until you get the child support order changed, you may still have to pay support. So this really is a situation where you need to talk to a competent family law lawyer. Its worth the investment in a consultation.
I would disagree with Mr. Harris' answer. A child does not have any input under Oregon law with regard to custody and/or parenting time while he/she is a minor. An attorney for the child or custody evaluator can inquire into a child's wishes and present those wishes to the court. The court can consider those wishes, but will only make a decision based upon the child's best interests with regard to all evidence presented. Under the facts as set forth in your question, you will need to speak with an attorney and with that attorney's help you would then present to the court the reasons why your son is unhappy and why you can provide a better residence.
First you should meet with an experienced family law attorney to assess the prospects for a custody modification. If a modification is filed your son will have the right to his own attorney appointed by the court. It would also be appropriate for the court to appoint a custody evaluator.
Kramer & Associates
I'm going to chime in and disagree with Dan above. I think a 14 year old kid has input. Under the laws of Oregon, there is nothing special about a child's desires; there is no statute saying that the child gets his or her pick of parents. So in that sense, Dan is totally correct.
But if the kid is miserable because mom mistreats him, if he thinks he could do better in school with Dad because there is a better environment there, or he is really depressed and thinks it is because something at mom's house is off, well that's useful input. Depending on how the child presents, a court would be willing to listen to his testimony on those matters.
Whatever you do, don't just jump headfirst into this situation without talking to one of the many competent family law attorneys in portland.
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