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My 17 year old son wants to come and live with me. He no longer wishes to live with his mother. She is probably going to fight this, although my son has already told her his wishes. She is doing everything she can to delay this. Should I just take my son to Court and have the primary residential custody changed? My son is willing to speak to the Judge himself. Backround - I have been divorced for almost 20 years. I have been remarried about 12 years. My ex-wife cannot seem to move on with her life, and she is constantly causing problems for me and my current wife. In addition, she has created many problems for herself with the children and she is always trying to blame everyone else. Can the kids go to court and disown their mother?


Marsha Temlock Replied: Your son's wishes should be taken into consideration. I suggest before you take her to court you find a therapist who could meet with both your son and ex wife to discuss the issues and see if this can be resolved amicably. She may be afraid she will lose contact with your son and may not be aware of the problems he is having. Teenagers can be tough and there may be two sides to this story. Try to separate the problems your ex is having with you and your wife and the problems she is having with your son. Also, talk to your lawyer or a mediator before going to Court. Why should your son disown his mother? That seems rather radical. If possible, you, your ex and your son could have a meeting with a therapist where you can get all the cards out on the table and see if there are alternatives. Marsha Temlock, M.A. Author "Your Child's Divorce: What to Expect ... What You Can Do"
Posted On 2008-05-19 19:13:07
Elinor Robin, PhD Replied: Both you and your ex-wife need to re-evaluate your interactions. You have co-created this mess and your children are suffering for it. Let your ex-wife know that you want to find solutions that work for her, for you, and for your children. Tell her that you are tired of fighting, that you appologize for anything and everything that you have ever done that has caused her stress and distress, and that you want to start all over with a clean slate because its what is best for your children and future grandchildren. You do not have legal problems, you have family problems. Your problems dont belong in a courtroom with a judge. If anything they belong in front of a therapist who specializes in post-divorce issues. Do not encourage your children to work out their family problems in a courtroom. Encourage them to talk to their mother openly and with compassion. Finally, get into therapy with a therapist who will encourage your taking a good hard look at yourself.
Posted On 2008-05-18 17:36:28
Dr. Tom Greenspon Replied: This is a complex story with what sounds like a long and painful history. Did you mean to say you have been divorced for 20 years but have a 17-year-old son? The best approach would be for you and your son and your ex-wife to work with a competent family therapist familiar with these issues. I'm assuming your current wife is in agreement with your wishes; if not, that should be resolved first. Disowning a parent, if that is even possible, would be an unnecessary and potentially harmful burning of emotional bridges. In most states, children your son's age are legally permitted to say where they want to live, so I would suggest consulting an attorney or, if your ex-wife is at all amenable, a family court mediator, if family therapy is not an option.
Posted On 2008-05-18 11:42:40
Rosalind Sedacca Replied: I don't believe your children need to disown their mother in order to make a change in their living circumstances. As a proponent of a Child-Centered Divorce I encourage you to dialog with your ex first to open the door to a change of residence for your son. Let him talk to her as well, assuring her that this move is not about rejecting her, but making a change in his life at this more mature age and stage in his growth. Most likely your wife is feeling very insecure in many ways. Boosting her security level and reassuring her that she is not a bad Mom will go a long way toward opening the door to genuine dialog about what's best for your son -- rather than making her feel like a loser. Yes, you can go to court and legally make this change for your son, but I would be very careful about not severing relations with his mother first. Perhaps this is the time for the entire family to move toward healing. Show compassion for your ex, sensitivity for her loss and a willingness to keep the door open to her and consequently she and your son will be better for it. If you force the issue legally without resolving the emotional turmoil behind it, your son will pay the price for years to come. And he deserves better than that don't you think?
Posted On 2008-05-18 09:35:17
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