My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Utah
Thank you in advance to any and all those who read my post, evaluate the circumstances and offer advice. I will do my best to provide a summary of information that will give the most accurate picture possible.
My wifeís 14 year old son has been living with his father out of state since 2003. They currently reside in Virginia. We are located in Utah. In January of this year, we received a call from dad indicating the son had not been attending school for several months. In fact, he had missed the majority of the fall semester for his 8th grade year and the first month of the second semester as well. Dad was calling because the school districtís truancy office was on the verge of filing charges against him for the sonís truancy. Dad was looking for a way to avoid the charges and asked if we would fly the son out to Utah and enroll him in school. He would live with us until the semester was complete.
Understand too that the son has had a history of truancy throughout his entire school career. He has been absent as many as 44 days in one semester, excessive tardiness 30+ times in one semester (not just a few minutes tardy, but hours late), poor grades, terrible behavioral problems at school that have led to disciplinary action (documented reports, detentions, in-school suspensions, possible police involvement), and at least three episodes where the son stopped attending school altogether for months on end with dad's support. During these occasions, dad and son would take long trips to Florida or the Smokey Mountains.
Once the semester was complete, the son did not return to Virginia and continues to live in our home at this time. Since living with us, the son completed the semester of school with a 3.82 GPA, did not have one absence and the handful of tardies he did have were for being late to class by a few minutes. Throughout the summer, the son has been involved in our church, scouting and workouts with the local high school football team. He has thrived in our home and progresses more and more each day.
His dad recently contacted us and said he was coming to Utah for a visit. He indicated once he arrived, he would be moving the son out of our home and into an apartment that the son would share with an older brother. The older brother lives here and is attending a graduate program at the local university. Dad states he will move both boys into an apartment and will fly from Virginia to Utah from time to time to visit with them and make sure they are doing well.
My wife has joint custody of the son, but not primary custody. Dad is the custodial parent. Again, dad does not live here in Utah; he is not a resident and is not planning to move here permanently. Dad will be taking some courses at the local university as part of a distance learning program, but will continue to live in Virginia. His visits to Utah will be for the courses and to visit his sons.
Of course we believe the son's would be better off remaining in our home.
So here are my questions.
Would my wifeís joint custody of the son supersede dadís intention of moving the son into an apartment with the older brother? The way I see it, the older brother has no parental rights/authority at all. Just because dad wants to move the younger son in with the older brother doesnít automatically give the older brother those rights.
Since dad is a permanent resident of Virginia, isnít his visit here to Utah exactly that, a visit? Wouldnít my wife be considered the custodial parent as long as the son lives in Utah and the dad lives in Virginia?
Lastly, if dad shows up at our door and insists the son leave with him so they can move him into this apartment, do we have to relinquish the son to his care or can we refuse and have the law (police) on our side?
Again, thank you for taking the time to consider my situation.