Child Custody FAQs Part 2

Cindy Best

 

My husband smokes pot almost daily. Should he have parenting time with the children?
Not unless it is supervised. Drug use will preclude him from having unsupervised parenting time. You should ask the court to have him drug tested at TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center). Their website is: www.tascaz.org. You might want to consult with an attorney, as this issue can become complicated.

My spouse has physically abused me. Can he still have custody of the kids?
Significant domestic violence is contrary to joint legal custody. This is also beyond the scope of this book. Please consult with an experienced family law attorney. (See Chapter 13.)

My 14-year-old does not like her father. Should I make her go visit him?
Do you know why she does not like to visit him? If he is safe and his house is safe, you should do everything you can to encourage the relationship. She may be taking on your negativity or he may just not be a very attentive parent. Help him be a better parent by role modeling for him and discussing this with him. Maybe they could go to counseling together. Teenagers often do not want to be with either parent. It is important, however, to provide ample time with each parent.

My ex-mother-in-law is coming for vacation. She wants to see our kids for a concert on my Saturday. I am afraid if I give in, I will always be giving in. Should I let my kids see her?
Yes, you should very seriously consider it. Do your kids want to go? Remember, while this is ?your? time, it is also their childhood. Try to negotiate and get make-up time or be gracious and let it go, knowing that your former spouse will return the favor when your parents come to town. Keep your kids first.

My former spouse wants to go on a cruise to Mexico. I will not let the kids get passports. Can he get my children passports without my approval?
This can get sticky, because there are hundreds of international abductions every year. If you truly believe it is for a cruise, you might consider it. You can ask for the written itinerary and documentation showing that they are really going on the cruise. Generally the abduction of children comes as no surprise to the abandoned parent. You could agree to have the passports kept in a safety deposit box that requires two signatures to retrieve. If your former spouse has citizenship in another country, you might want to do research to find out about whether that country is a member of the Hague Convention and whether you could retrieve the children if they were kidnapped. You should seek legal advice if kidnapping is a real concern.

We decided our kids would be Catholic. My spouse will not take them to mass on her Sundays. Can I ask the court to make my spouse take our children to mass?
The court will generally not mandate where each parent takes the children to worship on their respective weekends. If you have a written agreement in your decree as part of your joint parenting agreement, the court will enforce it.

My son wants to go to his band banquet on Friday night, but it is my parenting time and I do not want him to go. Should I let my son go?
Is this a question you are seriously asking? If you contemplated not allowing your son to attend his band banquet then take a step back and think about your son?s best interest, not yours. If you do not allow your child to go, you are forcing your son to spend time with you because it is ?your? time. You should carefully consider whose needs you are thinking about. We have heard on more than one occasion that it is ?not in the child?s best interest? to be involved in school activities during one parent?s time, but that is simply not the case. It is important that, as a parent, you stay involved in your children?s lives. Your life should revolve around their activities, not the other way around.

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