Help Luca Choose Where He Wants To Live

Some of you have been following my story for awhile. I'm Pauline Gaines, the pseudononymous blogger of Perils of Divorced Pauline. Three years ago I gave up fighting a horrific custody battle with my wealthy ex-husband over our son Luca, then thirteen. I was financially and psychologically drained and I worried the conflict would destroy my son. So I gave my ex what he wanted: full custody of Luca. Previously, despite his wealth, my ex was able to stop paying child support for Luca and my daughter Franny, who continues to live with me the majority of the time.

Two months ago, Luca, now 16, decided he could no longer reside in his father's home and came to live with me full time. His father is threatening to send him to boot camp if he doesn't return to him. He has cut my son off from his savings account and he has no access to his funds. Luca has just gotten a part-time job so he'll have some money.

Since my ex has sole rights over Luca, I have to go to court to modify custody. Time is of the essence because my ex has threatened that he will disenroll Luca from his current school by next week and send him away if he doesn't agree to his terms. And I don't just need to modify physical custody; I need to regain legal custody as well. As it stands, I have no legal right to get my son medical care if he needs it.

I am worried about the impact of all of this on Luca's mental health. His dad harrasses him daily via e-mail, text, and phone calls, threatening to send him away if he doesn't agree to live with him. Luca is despondent about the prospect of having to return to his dad's, or worse yet, to go to residential treatment, simply for wanting to live with his mother.

My savings are rapidly dwindling due to lack of child support. I now need to raise $5000 for a retainer to go into court next week to get an emergency order. This is what we will be pursuing:

- Restraining my ex from enrolling my son in a residential facility 
- Physical and Legal Custody Modification 
- Child Support Reinstatement
- Requiring my ex to allow Luca to take his driver's license test

My attorney thinks I have a good shot at modifying custody because my son is almost 17 and old enough to have a say in where he wants to live. However, I can't afford to go to court unless I can pay the retainer.

The family court system favors those with deep pockets. The richest, most vindictive person often wins. No parent should be unable to protect a child due to lack of funds. Any amount you can give, no matter how small, will help.
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Organizer

Pauline Gaines 
Organizer
Los Angeles, CA
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