Is it legal for myspouse to havesleepovers with the children homeif we are not yet divorced?

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Is it legal for myspouse to havesleepovers with the children homeif we are not yet divorced?

I moved out of the home 2 months ago because I thought I had to since my name is not on the mortgage. We did purchase the home after we were married. I am concerned for my children because he has been having sleepovers for a few weeks now. I feel that it is confusing. He is also fighting me for custody. Can his behavior help my case?

Asked on June 28, 2011 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually, just the opposite may happen. Moving out may hurt your chances of getting custody. While you have every right to move and technically it should not affect the determination of custody, it just might anyway. By leaving you do send a message to the court that the other parent is suitable to be given physical custody. Further, if the children remain in the family home, continue to attend the same school, and participate in their usual activities, the court may well be hesitant to change physical custody so as to avoid a disruption in the children's lives.

If you can't take the children with you you may want to consider moving back in. Regardless of whose name the house is in, until your divorce is finalized or occupancy of the house is otherwise judicially determined, you have a right to live there. You could take the children and have them move-in with you.

Note:  If you do take the children, you need to file a petition in family court for temporary custody and child support. Do this ASAP. Judges disapprove of parents who remove the children from the home without seeking court approval.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal--the law does not regulate morality or the domestic relations or arrangements of adults, even married adults, in that way. Whether spouse brings partners home is between the three of you, so to speak. The one exception would be if the circumstances or the partner in some way poses a threat to the children; in that case, you may be able to call child protective services to have them intervene, but it would have to be a real *threat,* not merely exposure to a situation you'd prefer they remain unaware of.

It is certainly possible that this will help your case for custody, since even if not illegal, it may be evidennce of a cavalier disregard for the children's interests and feelings. You should discuss with your matrimonial or divorce attorney. (If you don't have one, get one--the attorney will drastically improve the odds of getting the best outcome possible.)


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