Q: My x-husband went out of town on his set weekend with our son and left him with his girlfriend without asking me first
Is there a family code or law against that? I am the custodial parent and we share custody, but the girlfriend cant be trusted.
A: The father is within his rights to do this, just as you are when you leave the child with a babysitter on your time. Unless you have proof that the girlfriend was negligent, or abusive, there is nothing you can do.
In my book A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY I discuss issues like share custody and how it is a right that is a benefit to both parties.
A: Unless your custody and visitation order specifies that he has to give you the right of first refusal so-to-speak when he can't personally take care of his son during the visitation, there is nothing you can do to prevent him from leaving his son in the care of the girfriend as long as it is safe to do so. If you are concerned about your son's safety, you have to file a motion with the court and present proof why leaving your son in her care is detrimental to your son. I sense that perhaps your co-parenting arrangement may be a bit strained. Since you only say that the girlfriend cannot be trusted, I suspect that you question the father's judgment. While there is probably no doubt that you would not leave your son with his girlfriend or perhaps with anybody else, that does not mean that it's inappropriate if he does. Maybe you could suggest to him that you'd be happy to swap a weekend with him if he needs to leave town again during his scheduled visitation time. That way, he does not have to leave his son in the care of his girlfriend and he does not have to miss visitation with his son. Did your son complain about not being able to spend the weekend with dad? What is comes down to is doing what is in the best interest of your son. There is no question that safety comes first, but your son would also greatly benefit from two parents that work well together to make the necessary adjustments in the visitation schedule without getting into conflict. If you are truly concerned about your son's safety, take action. If you are just unhappy about not having been asked, forget about it.
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