What are a mother’s options and rights regarding the safety and well-being of her 2 minor child when in the care of their father?

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What are a mother’s options and rights regarding the safety and well-being of her 2 minor child when in the care of their father?

The soon-to-be divorced parents of my grandchildren have joint custody and shared decision making regarding the children’s well being. During the time the children are in their father’s care, does the father have the right to ignore the mother’s concerns and allow his girlfriend of 3 months who the children’s mother has never met, and/or the father’s 20 something male roommate, who the mother has met only once, to care for and/or transport the two minor children, a little girl age 5 and a 3 year old boy, when the father is not present? Does the mother have any recourse in this matter?

Asked on August 24, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Mom has a right to raise concerns about the situation.  Several factors could affect her success in doing anything about it though.  The first is the safety of the children.  That is the first and foremost thought on every judge's mind.  If the girlfriend or the roommate have criminal histories or have neglected/abused the children, then the court (at Mom's request) could impose restrictions on Dad's choice of child care assistance.  The second thought on some judges is the morality factor.  Not all judges are as concerned about live-ins and mixed households-- however, if the judge her case is pending in front of is, then she could ask the court to impose restrictions like "girlfriend not spend then night."  A third factor depends on the judge's sense of family-- some judges feel if the other parent is available, then the children should be with a parent rather than a third party during periods when one parent is unavailable to care for the child.  If Mom doesn't have a "morality judge" or there is not a safety concern (just an annoyance at the people involved), then she may be stuck with her ex-husband's choice of child care assistants.  Before she goes much forward, she needs to do more research on her judge so that she can know how best to frame her argument for restrictions.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, unless there is an order issued by a court precluding the father's girlfriend from transporting your grandchildren then the girlfriend is allowed to transport the grandchildren with the father's express permission to do so. The mother's recourse is to consult with a family law attorney and to file a petition with the court seeking an order precluding the girlfriend from transporting the children.


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