Melanie came on the air with us today, but here is her original letter:
Yi! My ex has been trying to get my daughter to live with him for the past three years and she's always said she wanted to stay with me- until recently. Just last weekend she came home with a short Miley Cyrus-like haircut, and a tattoo on her ankle, and suddenly informed me that she wants to live with her dad. I have fought with her about it, saying that he's just been buying her off but that will stop once she's under his roof, and she's still dead set on moving in with him. Considering she's 16 I don't think I have a legal right to keep her with me but I'm wondering if there's anything else I can do to reason with her.
Slacker thought that maybe the dad was making a push for his daughter so he wouldn't have to pay as much child support. He also thought that maybe the dad was just trying to hurt Melanie. Both guys agreed that this is something all parents have to deal with at some point--one parent trying to be cooler than the other. Steve said that she is just being a rebelious teenager and sometimes you have to let them go.
What can Melanie do to make her daughter realize that her ex is trying to buy off their daughter?
I called back in May about a similar problem that was on the air. I am a single father of two boys and, after a 12 year custody battle in which the kids lived primarily with their mom, the boys live with me.
I was informed by several attorneys that, in Colorado, the age that a child has the right to their own decision who to live with is 18! Only in dire circumstances or the child has been legally emancipated by the courts can the child make a determination on who to live with.
If the parents have joint custody, there has to be a primary residential custody parent. Either the parties have to agree to a change or the courts will rule on how the residential situation play out.