Change to Shared Custody & Child's Wishes

by Maribel from Tampa, Florida, Hillsborough County

My 12 year old does not want to be with father for extended periods.

For the last 10 years his father has been absent 95 percent of the time.

My son is ok with visiting him for a day or two but refuses to spend a whole week or an entire summer with his father.

Does my son have a say in this case?

Answer to Florida Stepparent Adoption Question

Dear Maribel,

Is there a court order stating how the visitation schedule should be?

If it is court ordered that he spend a specific amount of time with the father then you may want to file a modification of the Parenting Plan and visitation schedule.

Keep in mind that this in turn may affect the child support.

It sounds as if there may already be a lack of the father exercising his time sharing with your son.

If you have kept a log or journal of this it will probably help you with your reason to modify.

If your son refuses to spend time with his father then you may need to get someone else involved.

The court avoids having children in the courtroom due to the stress that it may cause them.

A Guardian Ad Litem can be assigned to speak with your son and then speak for him in court.

Another possible option would be to request that your son testify on camera, or video, and then it be played for the judge to help him make a decision.

The judge must approve this though, and since your son is only twelve, he or she may not because it might not be in his best interest.

Additionally, you might want to have your son speak to a therapist or counselor.

Just to be sure that the reason he is refusing to spend more than a day or two with his father isn’t because of some sort of abuse or neglect.

A court appointed Guardian Ad Litem might ask for an evaluation anyway.

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Comments for Change to Shared Custody & Child's Wishes

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custody concerns
by: Anonymous

My ex husband and i have been divorced since 2004 and i am the primary provider for our 3 children ages 14,12, and 11. There was no order for child support in the initial divorce because there was a mutual agreement that he would help with school clothes, school supplies, field trips, sports costs, etc. Despire the agreement, he has not helped with ANY aspect of the children and has barely seen them per his own doing. He has been in and out of prison their entire lives and recently just got out after a 4 yr sentence. He is now wanting to see my children and i am concerned for their safety and mental anquish and do not want to allow him visitation.

I am remarried and my husband has provided for them financially, emotionally, and physically,and he too is concerned about their safety and well being if the children see him. My children also dont want to see him as i have given them that option. What can i do to assure that he cant just take my children at any time as he has threatened to do? He has an extensive mental health background so i do not take his threats lightly.

--You may want to explore a stepparent adoption or a Supervised Parenting Plan as possible options. Have a look at our pages for more information and get legal advice from a Family Lawyer. --Staff

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