Get Free Family Law Advice from our Ask a Lawyer Topic Section on SingleDad. This month’s topic is about child custody schedule when an ex-spouse relocates. Does week on, week off really work for everybody? Read more.
Ask a Lawyer: Week On, Week Off Custody Schedule
Question: Through a series of
misunderstandings and bad decisions, 2 years ago my 9 year old daughter’s
mother was allowed to relocate her to a city about 45 minutes away (in
California). Despite the difficulties (both with money and work), I have been
able to maintain the week on/week off schedule (I drive her to school, drive to
work, pick her up and drive home). Up to the decision to allow her to relocate,
I had been an active and involved father; I volunteered in the classroom, went
on field trips, and handled all the doctor’s appointments and school
appointments. Since the decisions, I have become even more involved because mom
has reduced her commitment.
Recently, our child has been getting to sleep extremely late (11-12 on school
nights), is late to school because of how tired she is, and is forced to stay
home by herself after school (on her mother’s weeks). This has been going on
for at least a couple months.
My question is this: I don’t feel this is healthy for her, but I don’t know how
I would go about challenging the current custody orders, or if the standard of
care is even something the courts would care about. My biggest fear is to bring
the case up only to have the current custody orders changed to reduce our
daughter’s time with me, impacting our daughter’s well being. Do my concerns
justify a custody revisit? If so, what is the best way to quantify my evidence
Your daughter’s continued ability to thrive and succeed should not be
hindered by the actions of her mother. The mother does not appear to be as
concerned for your daughter as you do. It is admirable that for the past two
years you have been the one to demonstrate your love and concern for your
daughter by volunteering at her school and on field trips and by taking her to
doctor’s appointments. You did all this despite having to commute 45 minutes
each way every time you see her. In contrast, the mother’s apparent unconcern
with your daughter’s wellbeing by allowing her to stay up until midnight,
leaving her home unattended after school, and letting her arrive late to school
justifies your concern.
Correctly responding to these recent developments could
safeguard your daughter from academic failure, as well as suffering injury or
other harm while she is left home alone at her mother’s house. If your
daughter’s sleep is constantly interrupted by her mother’s failure to set a
reasonable bed time and get her to school on time, she may suffer sleep
deprivation which can impair her ability to live up to her full potential. Time
may be of the essence and if the court perceives that you are not doing enough
to safeguard your daughter’s welfare, it can potentially damage your ability to
seek modification of custody or parenting time. You may need to act quickly, correctly
and strategically to ensure that does not happen.
Custody modification cases can be complex and challenging.
Your case requires hand crafting and strategic planning from a highly skilled
and experienced professional capable of handling complex family law cases.
Please seek the advice of a competent and highly skilled family law attorney. Please
feel free to visit dadsrights.com for more educational information.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”