Friday, January 25, 2013

Can a parent take a child when it's not their scheduled visitation time?

Q: I have primary physical custody of my 5 year old son, EX and I share joint legal custody. She is ordered to have visits every other weekend from Friday at 6pm until Sunday at 6pm. Some rotated holidays and then 2 (1) week visits during the summer. She seems to think that she can go to our sons school and remove him anytime she wants. She lives 60 miles away. The school knows the custody situation and has informed me they would not allow her to remove him on their part but I'm curious as to what she is permitted or not permitted to do. The custody order does not include anything about that since it was put in place and signed when he was three months old. If she were to take him from the school without my knowledge it is a violation of the order correct?  I've attempted to speak with her about it before but she just insists since she is the mother that she can do whatever she wishes and neither the school or I can stop her. She's threatened both me and the school with lawsuits if she's not allowed to do what she wants and take our son when she wants. I was under the impression that when one parent had visitation time that the other parent couldn't simply show up and take the child. Also that since she was only granted visitations on the weekends that I had visitation and custody at the other times and she can't take him from me. Is that true?

A: David's Answer: First, I agree you should bring the full agreement/order into an experienced attorney to review. Second, if you are in disagreement with her doing this, then you need to capture it in writing to her so she cannot later say in court that you "went along with it." Third, perhaps you need to speak with the attorney about doing an amendment to the agreement allowing her to pick-up the child from school on the Fridays she has access time.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Custody lawyer (   

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