Additional Information:

My ex-wife and I got divorced ten years ago and I got sole custody of our now 15 year-old son.  She hasn’t seen him much over all these years and recently she’s been making an effort to get to know him.  My question is can she petition for joint custody now?  We live in Wellesley and she lives in NH, about 90 minutes away. Our son already feels conflicted.

ANSWER:

It is certainly very important for a child to have significant and healthy relationships with both parents.  In your son’s case, his mother was not fully available to him during the past ten years.  Her efforts to get to know him and to have a relationship with him can hopefully be a positive force in his life.  Given his age, his feelings about his relationship with his mother should be considered.  Anything you can do to encourage this relationship would certainly benefit your son, assuming that her contact would not be harmful to him.  Given the lack of contact over the years and the physical distance of your residences, it would be unlikely that a court would grant joint physical custody.  You  might consider a therapist for you son so that he can work through the feelings that have arisen as a result of his mothers reappearance in his life.  You might want to consider mediation as a way you and your ex-spouse can have a dialogue about her future relationship. 

Wellesley Divorce Mediator and Attorney, Tracy Fischer provides divorce mediation services and helps couples figure out matters related to the children both as a result of and after divorce.   She works with families and individuals in the Wellesley and other Boston Metro West area communities including : Dedham, Dover, Needham, Newton, Sherborn, Watertown, Weston.