My almost 17 year old son refuses to go back to his fathers. I have filed a petition to change custody (court date is in a little over a month); however, it was time to return him to his father last week and he will not go and told his father to his face and on the phone several times. Now my ex-husband has filed a show cause as to why I have not returned him. How can I or do I have to force my son to return? I have told him it is under court order that he is suppose to and he still refuses...says he does not care and does not want to go. My son said he is tired of his father trying to make his decision for his future for him or control which jobs he gets. He only wants him to get jobs where he knows people so he can watch him. Or denies him extra curricular activities for NJROTC which helps him for his future career (he wants to be an officer in the military). Also his father will not give him a key to his house so on school days he must first go to his grand mothers to get the key then go to his house to get school books he may need to do homework go back to his grandmothers to do the homework. 9 times out of 10 by then my sons step mother calls and says send them home, then he gets home and tries to start again on his homework and step mother says dinner is ready come eat. He is in majority AP classes which requires alot of homework and does not have time to finish it because of this scenario. Then father gets mad and puts him on restriction for getting a bad grade. He is entering his senior year of high school and wants a more stable environment for doing his homework. Anyway will I be charged for contempt for not following the court order? Do I have to force my son some kind of way to return to his father?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I think it highly unlikely you would be found to be in contempt under the circumstances you describe. Your son is of an age that he has significant say in how he interacts with his parents, and you obviously cannot force him to visit with his father. It sounds to me like you have done al that you can, and a judge is very likely to tell both parents that it is up to the child to decide.