Divorce Solutions

Question #27

What is the age of consent for a child in custody lawsuits in the state of New York?? At what age do they allow the child to speak what THEY want?? I have been divorced for about three years now – I have joint custody of my daughter, but the ex-wife has physical custody. However, I do have my daughter 3-4 days a week and have never been late on any payments – pay 100% of all medical, dental, prescriptions, whatever she needs PLUS 17%…. My daughter just informed me (she is 7yrs old) that her mother was planning on moving way out of state (other side of the country), and she told her not to tell me. She is planning on moving because her new boyfriend (who she is ‘engaged’ to, my daughter told me – and her mother told her not to tell me) has the ‘possibility’ of getting a job way out there. As of yet, the mother does not know that I know. My daughter is scared to death that I will tell the ex that she told me these things (she is scared of her mother). I need to find out what I can do.I can NOT lose my daughter – I don’t care if I have to sell everything I own to get the required funds for whatever is needed.

Generally, the courts will not listen to the child until the child is in his or her teenage years and exhibits maturity of thought and mind. The court is, however, interested in the best interests of the child.

You did not indicate whether you entered into a written Separation Agreement before your actual divorce. Generally, the custody arrangements include a paragraph which deals with moving out of state and which limits the move to some particular agreed-upon radius from the place where the parties are presently living. If you do have a Separation Agreement, please refer to it to see if such a provision exists.

The courts are reluctant to allow the residential parent to move away with the child because such a move would interfere with the visitation rights and the relationship of the child with the nonresidential parent, and the courts would like to see that relationship grow. Your Ex will have to provide the court with a compelling reason why it is in the best interests of your child to move to such a remote location away from you.

If you believe that the move is imminent, you must hire an attorney to make a motion to the court to restrain your Ex from moving outside of the state with your daughter. If she insists on moving, the court may very well decide to give you residential custody of your daughter.

If you’re living in the New York City metropolitan area, I strongly suggest that you tried to mediate this matter with your Ex, and to that end, I suggest that you give me a call at 212-370-1660 to arrange for an appointment.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions