Originally Posted by Justalexis
1. What do we need to be prepared for Family Court should we chose to challenge the mother for full custody? (The child lives with us and goes to school in our district).
So...if the child lives with you, what are you seeking to change in court? (That is, do the papers say he lives with mom, but he actually lives with you, etc...?) In general, you can expect to present why it's in the child's best interest for your husband to be awarded full custody and you can expect that mom will try to show why it's not.
2. Can we be held accountable if the child is allowed to go to his mother's if the atmosphere/character are inappropriate?
I don't understand. Accountable for what and to whom? If you are asking whether or not you can be held responsible for what happens at mom's house when DSS is visiting her on court-appointed visiting time, then no - unless you have reason to believe that significant harm is taking place.
3. Is the mother's conduct taken into consideration when she doesn't have the kid assuming she isn't that when she is responsible for him.
I suspect that would depend on whether or not her behavior will affect him when he is with her. That is, if she's a drug dealer, that could potentially affect her son when he's with her. However, if she's bar hopping when her son is not with her, that's likely not going to be of interest to a judge.
4. Is the live-in boyfriend's conduct and involvement considered part of the child's best interest?
Yes - depending on how damaging it is. If it's something a bio parent could get away with, then boyfriend probably can too.
5. Any words of wisdom when coping with the other parent?
Well, I'm not sure what you're dealing with. It sounds like perhaps mom isn't up for Mother-of-the-Year award, but she's not evil incarnate either? I think you always win when you remember that children love and want to be with their biological parents even if we don't understand why. :) While I don't understand this, it seems to be a biological fact that children need their biological parents in their lives - crave it - even if we see no value in those people. You set yourself up for a battle when you fail to accept and respect that. In my opinion, a good place to be is having a realistic understanding of what's truly important and what is not. Your DSS's safety (physical, emotional, etc...) is important. Weighing the potential damage to it is the tough part. That is, if a child is being beaten, you need to get involved. If mom's boyfriend takes him for motorcycle rides and you think that's dangerous...well, a judge likely won't agree. Choose your battles and do your utmost to keep peace. Truly, creating a peaceful home and a peaceful relationship with the ex will go a long way to creating stability for your DSS wherever he is - and will cause him to see you as "the good guy" in the end.