What can I do to get the kids full-time since they are so unhappy going to their mother’s house?

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What can I do to get the kids full-time since they are so unhappy going to their mother’s house?

My ex-wife and I have joint custody of our 3 children. The majority of nights, they stay with me. My children have expressed a desire not to return to their mother’s house, due to the disdain they have for her boyfriend/potential stepfather. We had issues 2 years ago and when we finalized our divorce, so the overnight setting was reversed, with me getting the majority of time with them and her having to pay child support.

Asked on January 29, 2013 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What needs to be done in this case is for you, as the non-custodial parent, to file for a modification of the order that is currently in place. in your petition you will have to state the reasons for wanting such a change change. You should be aware, however, that the legal standard favors maintaining the status quo; a judge does not want to see a tug-of-war between parents. That having been said, when appropriate, a court will modify an earlier custody determination. Consequently, the party requesting the motion must demonstrate that there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" since the decree or there were facts not known to the court at the time that the initial decree was issued. It would additionally have to be shown that a modification would be in the "best interesst of the child". Yet while a child cannot choose outright as to which parent they want to live, the older the child the greater the weight their preference is given. At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who specializes in custody cases.


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