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Can he just take her away or what?

Hi Mark,

I had a meeting with ex re: finances, but he wont pay anything. He has a new girlfriend who lives in NSW and says L___ will not stay at her high school the whole way through. I want her to. He doesn't know where he will live. Where does that leave me? It actually affected my work today. I think I need some legal advice on that matter. Can he just take her away or what? I am overeating and over-sleeping now. I believe L___ would take us to court if she could or would know about it. She has been okay during holidays.



Hi J.,

I’m not sure what the laws are on this matter in your area. In my state, either parent (or both) can get custody. If the parents agree between themselves on custody, they can avoid a long and expensive court case. But if they can't agree, the judge will hear both sides and decide what's best for the child, not the parents. The judge will consider many factors such as:

  • Which parent has been the children’s primary caregiver
  • Emotional ties of the children to parents and other family members
  • Attitude of the parents towards the child
  • Whether one parent has abused the other (the law assumes that it is not best for the child to be in the custody of a parent who has abused the other parent)
  • Whether one parent is more likely to help the other parent keep a close relationship with the children (the judge won’t consider this if one parent shows that the other parent has been abusive and that a continuing relationship with the children would be dangerous for either the parent or the children)
  • Any criminal record of the parents
  • The parents' emotional stability
  • Home environment
  • The child's age, sex, and health
  • Whom the child wishes to be with (if the child is old enough to make a good decision)

Judges will often award permanent legal custody to the parent who has had physical custody of the child. Judges do not like to change the living situation of a child who is doing well.


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