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Question #51:
CHILD CUSTODY : I live in NY State and have a 15 year old daughter who lives with her mother. I was incarcerated for approximately 13 years; however, within those 13 years I was able to maintain a relationship with my daughter in which my mother (maternal grandmother) would bring her to me on visits. I am now out of prison and have established a strong bond with my 15 year old daughter. (My prison conviction was for robbery, but I am now a changed man).

This is the problem. My daughter has been able to visit me every other weekend and stays for the weekend. This has been going on since I was released from prison. I have a fiance, who has three daughters of her own, 16, 10 and 5 years old. My fiance has a great relationship with her children and shows them an abundance of love. My daughter felt comfortable enough to tell me and my fiance about the treatment and neglect she receives from her mother. She has also expressed a desire to live with me and my fiance, and has ran away from home more than once. She does not get along with her mother, and has threatened to run away if she is forced to continue living with her. (My ex is very verbally and emotionally abusive).

During a recent telephone call to my daughter, my ex informed me that my daughter has been acting up and she believes that her behavior is a result from being around me, my fiance and her kids. This is truly false! We show my daughter an abundance of love when she is with us, and my step children are great kids. My ex is just using any kind of excuse to stop visitation.

Father's Day is around the corner, and my ex is not allowing my daughter to visit with me anymore. She has absolutely no right to stop my visitation based on false pretenses. It appears that she is upset and jealous that my fiance maintains a special bond with her kids, and my ex just does not possess those motherly skills. Me and my ex were never married.

I am going to take her to court for visitation, and was wondering if I would be able to file for custody, considering the fact that my daughter is 15 years old and clearly expresses a desire to live with me.

Please help…what are my options!!??


If your daughter , it is a mature , 15-year-old and can express herself well, she is at an age where the court will listen to her , and if she desires tolive with you, the court will seriously take that into consideration. If there is abuse involved, the court will seriously consider changing custody , especially if you can show that you now have a strong family environment for her to grow in and that you have the financial means to take care of her.

You should find experienced, matrimonial counsel to assist you in this matter. Do not leave this to self-help.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions
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