Speak Up! - View Question #23823
printer friendly version
My mom is moving to Florida with her new boyfriend and she is taking us with her. I want to live with my dad, my dad has been there my whole life and he has been more of a parent than my mom has ever or will ever be. I want to stay with my dad because I know I won’t be able to depend on my mom, there is only one problem, legally he is not my dad or step dad. But he is my brother’s biological dad. If he was to take my mom to court, is there any way he could get custody of me or if I could live with him and not my mom?
This is a very difficult time for you, and I am sorry. Your question doesn't indicate what happened to your own biological father. However, in most cases, a custodial parent (like your mother) has the right to decide where she will live with her children. There are some exceptions to that rule. If the biological father has any right to custody or visitation, and also lives in Arizona, then your mother would have to notify him of the relocation before she leaves - and he would have the right to contest the process.
Also, your brother's father could try to file a petition seeking custody under A.R.S. § 25-415 because he has acted as a parent in the past. However, I emphasize the word "try" because it is very difficult for a non-parent to legally interfere in the private life of a biological mother or father this way. He would have to show several things right from the start - including evidence that it would be "significantly detrimental" for you to remain in your real mother or father's care; otherwise the court would summarily throw out his petition without even conducting a hearing.
Both you and your brother's father should also be careful about filing a petition like this. You obviously have a low opinion of your mother at this time, but you may not always feel that way. Raising a child (especially as a single parent) is much, much harder than it looks, and she may have suffered all sorts of personal experiences from her previous marriage that justify starting a new life in Florida - experiences that perhaps she has not fully disclosed to you because she felt you weren't ready to hear it yet. If you attempt this legal maneuver without good cause, and without thinking it through, you might damage your relationship with your mother for years - or destroy it altogether.
Because of the possible legal ramifications that can be caused by an individual seeking custody. You or your brother’s father may want to consult with a family or juvenile law attorney who specializes in these sorts of case before you (or anyone else) does anything rash. Good luck!