Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Can I gain full custody if my child wants to live with me and his mom threatens him?

Question: I am the primary custodian of my 13-year-old son. He wants to stay with me full time because his mother takes her anger out on him because she’s mad at me. 

She also threatens him that her stepfather will spank him. Could I get full custody based on his age and the other issues she takes out on him?


Answer:  Those two factors, your son’s age and the other issues she takes out on him, are by themselves probably not sufficient to warrant a change from joint custody to sole custody.  

In many states, sole legal custody is pretty rare and granted in situations of absent parents, drug using or other non law-abiding parents.  Most courts do not give a child the option to choose where he wants to live.  

Courts will take this factor into consideration with many others, but it will most likely never be the deciding factor.  My suggestion is that you speak with an attorney familiar with your local rules and state laws and discuss what affect your son’s mother’s behavior is having on him and what you can do about it.  


Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.

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