My question involves a child custody case from the State of: New York
I have 50-50 shared custody of my 17 3/4 year old. He urgently and desperately wants to live with me full time. He has said he wants to write a letter to the court saying so to insure they will approve it.
His main reason is that he is not getting along with his mother and that he is terribly stressed by her lectures and badgering. He suffers from depression, is on medication and was hospitalized 2 years ago for being suicidal.
After dropping him off at my house yesterday, she texted, " He is a mess.-I could not sleep last night- I am very worried about him hurting himself."
This is urgent. It is crucial that I succeed in getting full custody ASAP.
I will give you background details with the hope that you can help me succeed, and do it quickly.
We split the week 50-50 on a 5-2-5 alternating schedule.
A few years ago, she moved 20 minutes away from my house. Last year she moved 40 minutes away. On the nights he stays at her house, she drops him off at my house to go to school. He has often missed or been late for school because he is too tired after having to awaken an hour earlier to allow for travel and sufficient time to make the school bus. On her days, he comes to my house after school and stays until she picks him up 530 or so on her way home to work. A few days per month, he stays at my house additional days because she says she has to work late and can't pick him up, or is not feeling well, or because his friends are here and he wants to spend time with them. Despite my repeated requests, these times are usually without my being told in advance. She just drops him off on her day or tells him to sleep over without checking with me.
He left his depression medication at his mother's when he was dropped off to be with me for the next 5 days. He takes them when he gets up. Last night he texted, asking her to drop them off on her way to work. She said she did not have the time to drop them off. I will be going to the pharmacy when they open, get more meds and bring his morning dose to school. He will be taking them 3 hours late and I will have to go into work late.
My older son asked to go to court when he was 14 so that he could live with me instead of 50-50. He said he could not tolerate living with her. I suggested that every week he ask her if he can stay an additional night. I said that if the court gave me full custody, her visitation would probably be every other weekend, one overnight and one evening every week. That would essentially be the same as staying an extra night each week. I wanted to avoid the trauma of court. That worked a few weeks, and then he said she was giving him a hard time about the extra night, telling him that she was afraid that I would ask for a reduction in child support if she let him keep doing it. He was desperate to live with me full time, so I sent an email to her saying I would not ask for a reduction "solely based on the number of nights he sleeps at my house." He NEVER slept at her house since that time. When she moved to a new house the next year, it did not even have a bedroom for him to sleep in if he wanted.
This time I do want to ask for an end to child support. I had expected that she would have continued to have our son sleep there at times and her to continue to use the child support for his clothes and other expenses as she had in the past. She did not spend a cent of the $6000 a year that was his share of support. When he started college 3 years later, the agreement said she pays 50%. She said she could not afford it and refused.
This time, I want to ask for and end of child support which would go to age 21. I make far more than her and her husband combined, so I assume she will use that as an argument to continue support. I would think that if I am granted full custody that I am not required to pay her child support.
I need to do this through family court since I cannot afford a lawyer for Supreme Court. I want to make sure I do this the right way.
Should I file for an end of child support at the same time I submit the request for a change of custody of after I am (hopefully) granted full custody?
If I ask for child support from her, will it increase my chances of getting an end of my paying child support, which is all that I really want?
There are additional compelling reasons for him wanting to live with me full time. There are difficult sexuality and identity issues that he is getting therapy for and her approach to advising him is causing him to have much more stress according to him. Her husband lectures him saying that "a normal person" would do this or that which he feels is demeaning. I do not want to put these details in the papers, but it will be devastating to him if he cannot change custody to me.
He is now failing classes because he has not been able to do his assignments due to being too stressed to work. He has refused to go to school several days each month because he said he was too stressed to go, or too tired after being unable to sleep the prior night at his mother's house. I returned from work one day a few weeks ago to find him on the floor hysterically crying. He said his mother was chewing him out for 30 minutes on the phone. I thought it was going to be another trip to the ER for another psychiatric admission, but after an hour, I calmed him down to the point where I thought he was safe.
This is an urgent matter. He is with me for the next 5 days and does not want to go back. (I explained that she will still have visitation, even if I am granted full custody). Her refusal to drop off his medicine this morning was the last straw for me.
What is the quickest way for me to proceed? And should I simultaneously ask for an end of child support or does that risk it looking like I am doing this for financial gain, which will probably be her contention? He is willing to write as strong a letter as needed. Should he? And how strong? He went to school today, so he is ok at the moment (with the expectation he will be able to live with me)
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As a follow-up. I just called the Family Court. They said I can file a petition in person and they will have the judge review it within 24-48 hrs. I still am interested in any comments you may have. (or the moderator can remove this thread if others would not be interested in my situation.)
Will let you know what happens.