Thursday, July 14, 2011 - Custody Question

Dear Private Eye:

I can not stand my step father. He is verbally abusive to me, screams and calls me names. He drinks all the time and hates my dad who I only get to see every other weekend due to the custody deal my parents made 10 years before my mother met this loser. The guy doesn't work. He was fired and gets no unemployment so he lives off all the child support my dad sends. Mom works two minimum wage jobs, is  always  gone working. When she is home, she drinks with my step father and they get into these extreme fights.  I am 16 years old, the only kid left at home.  I want to live with my dad. I don't want to disappoint my mom but I  HATE my stepfather. What can I do?

Dear Rebel:

I don't know what state you are in, or what custody laws are there. However, I believe there comes a point where a kid can speak for himself or herself in a court of law and tell a judge who he/she wants to live with.

This of course can be quite a challenge for the judge to figure out because often, parents use kids as pawns in divorce. And you may be forced by one party to say you want to live somewhere you really don't want to. For instance, your step father could threaten to harm your mother if you choose to live with your dad.  Your step father may want that child support money.
These are the things  family law attorneys,  P.I.'s, social workers, family court workers and officers of the court see a lot.
Kids who prove they're intelligent, resourceful and have good/due cause, can also "emancipate" themselves.

It sounds to me like you are making this decision on your own. And I believe you do not feel safe, nor are you safe, at home with your step dad. So I think it's time to sound the horn... become transparent.... and open yourself up to your real dad, your mom, let them know what you want to do. If things get rough, do not hesitate to  tell your teacher, guidance counselor,  the police or whatever version of Child Protective services operates in your state.

You are 16 years old. In two more years, you qualify for the military. You could fight for this country. So start fighting for yourself and your rights to a safe happy childhood... now. Don't worry about disappointing your mom. In my opinion, your mom disappointed you by marrying that loser.
Take care of yourself first. Find your way back to your dad. Legally.

Good Luck Rebel. Sorry you have to go through all this!
Your Private Eye

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