At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody

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Arkhangelsk

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At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« on: September 25, 2019, 07:53:04 PM »
I keep hoping that eventually the kids will want to stay with me more often.  But their dad has them pretty cowed.  And, my household is the one with the rules and the chores.

At any rate - if any of you have stories of the kids asserting their preferences, at what age, and how you discussed it with them, I would love to hear.

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athene1399

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2019, 11:07:33 AM »
I don't know how much of our story is applicable to your situation. We were told where SD14 wanted to live weighed more heavily in court. We felt that our whole case depended on it and thought we would lose. There was heavy alienation going on. When asked why she wanted to live with BM she would say "I don't know, I just do.". She would repeatedly say it was SO's fault we were in court and it was his fault she had to go through this when BM filed the petition. We eventually explained to SD that we wanted a judge to hear everyone's side and then make a fair judgement. I'm not sure if this was the best way to go about it, but we also showed SD the length of the ranting texts that BM would send SO and say "we feel she's yelling at you like how she's texting dad, and if she's treating you like that becasue she's upset, that is not okay. " we also said that we were more comfortable with SO making the final say in medical decisions as our reason for keeping him as custodial guardian. We also expressed some financial concerns that if BM got child support from SO, there was no guarantee the money would go towards SD (Not sure if that should have been said), and as things were, she was getting everything she needed.

Then after the trial but before SD's interview with the judge, BM started really going off the deep end. SD would text SO to come get her and would leave in tears. When SD did her interview with the judge, she changed from what she told the GAL and said she wanted time split between both parents.Then BM attempted suicide before the final trial/hearing/court appointment (not sure what it classifies as). So I think at that point, it didn't matter what SD said or how the trial went becasue of BM's suicide attempt. I think there's a lot of factors at play. Eventually, after all that, BM convinced SD to stay with her her last year of high school (because she lives closer). I think SD likes giving BM another chance and knows we will be there for her if things change and she needs us to fall back on. But also, after SO and BM split up, BM disappeared for a little bit (at least a year from what I understand, maybe almost two). That motivated SD to want to spend more time with BM when she came back into the picture. She felt she didn't know her mom and wanted to get to know her. Maybe she knew SO would always be there for her.


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athene1399

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2019, 11:10:34 AM »
I should also add that in the trial the GAL did say something like "while my client wants to live with BM, I feel this is not in her best interest." So that's a factor too.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2019, 03:11:24 PM »
My stepkids were 8 and 10, yep....8 and 10.  Total nightmare.  BM petitioned for the kids to have their own attorney.  The judge allowed it, even with documented parental alienation by BM.  An attorney for the kids is very different from a GAL.  A GAL determines what is in the best interest of the child, an attorney fights for what their client says they want.  So, even though living with BM was not in their best interest, they were scared  not to pick BM (and they admitted this to us after it was too late).   We couldn't fight it.  Immediately after custody changed to BM, the kids were devastated.  They wanted to go back to 50/50, but the damage was done and we couldn't fix it.    They thought choosing BM would "make her happy", but...we know how that works in the PD setting. 

My DSS is now trapped at BM's, and she is abusing him, and it seems teaming up with DSD to go after him too.  We just can't prove it, and when DSS stood up for himself and said he wanted to live with us, she rammed him through a mental illness diagnosis and blocked DH from being able to give input to the psychiatrist. 

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Arkhangelsk

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2019, 05:36:45 PM »
Oh, Stepping.  That makes me feel very stabby.

I am terrified of something like that happening.  :(

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Stepping lightly

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2019, 05:43:32 PM »
sorry to be the voice of how it can go wrong, I feel like that is sadly a lot of what I have for input on here   :(

I think as kids get older, they understand their choices a bit better, which is why it really matters that they are older.  When DSD was 6 she said, "Mom said she is going to tell the judge she wants more time with us, isn't that great?" and DH said, "But that will be less time with me". and DSD said, "OH NO, I don't want THAT!".  BM worked on them for a few years before going in for the kill.  I can't believe a judge allowed it so young, and sadly, he was a temp judge.  Our judge knew the story, and got it, I can't believe she would have ever allowed it to happen (we are pretty sure she was about to give DH custody, but due to court rules needed to go through a full trial- then she went on sick leave).

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Whiteheron

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2019, 05:47:52 PM »
We are in the middle of this right now. All I'm hearing is that my DS16 isn't old enough to "call the shots" and say he doesn't want to stay with his dad. That's the line stbx's L is screaming from the rooftops and it's giving the judge pause. I have posed the question - how old does DS have to be to say what's best for him? But I haven't heard back yet. I doubt I will - I don't think there is a clear cut answer to this one. The courts are woefully under prepared to deal with a high-conflict PD (is that redundant?  :upsidedown:).
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Penny Lane

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2019, 06:06:57 PM »
I've thought about this a lot and decided I can't even hope for this scenario. If one of the kids ever breathed that they want to be with DH more, BM would go on a hoovering spree the likes of which we've never seen. The only way this wouldn't happen is if the situation was so dire (like WhiteHeron's) that it was a straight up emergency.

I know there are some cases where a teen sort of naturally gravitates to one house and stays there, but I have a really hard time imagining that a PD would just let that happen. It seems more likely that they'd try to get the kid to never come back to the non house.

Not super comforting, I know.

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Arkhangelsk

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Re: At what age did your kids get to weigh in on custody
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 04:06:18 PM »
At the moment, my ex has sort of ground it into their heads that 50/50 is fair.  So, even though it sounds like there is some neglectful stuff going on over there, as well as the usual manipulations - I doubt the kids would challenge that.

What you all did do is remind me to think very hard about the risk of waking the kraken, if you will.