My son's court ordered parenting time schedule is Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 - 7:00. I am the grandmother of the child and she was informed that I would be picking up the child ahead of time and she said to bother showing up. I went to her home and was denied so my son did not get his parenting time. I believe this will become a pattern for any day that my son is unable to pick him up. Also, she informed my son she will be going to CA with his son 5 days before the planned trip. She will be going with her new boyfriend who my son has never met. She will also be cutting into his parenting time. Can she legally do this?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Absent some extreme reason, you should be allowed to pick-up your grandson. Your son's lawyer should send her lawyer a proposed Order allowing you to effectuate pick-ups and drop-offs. If she refuses to sign the Order, your son should ASAP file a Motion with the Court requesting entry of the Order. A Court will allow her to take the child on a trip, but she should notify your son of all the trip times, details and locations. Depending on the age of the child, she should also facilitate regular phone contact between the child and your son during the vacation. If her vacation "cuts into" your son's regular parenting time, he should be given "make-up" time. If she refuses to give your son "make-up" time, that issue should also be addressed with the Court. If your son does not have a lawyer to help him, I would be happy to assist. I have concentrated in Family Law for nearly 17 years, and I offer free consults. Please feel free to call me anytime. Warmest regards, Matt Catchick. (248) 606-5522.
Family Law Attorney
Unless the court order specifically states that you can pick up your grandchild this issue is a matter that must be agreed to by the parties. As for the vacation, mom has no right to take five extra days without your sons permission. Mom knows when the vacation is and can plan accordingly. But I would agree with the other attorney, if she does take the visitation you need to file a parenting time complaint to get make up visitation
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Is the court order issued as part of a divorce, custody, or paternity case? It is not unusual for a parent to delegate responsibility to a related third party to pick up a child or children for parenting time if the parent is unable to do so. However, if it becomes an issue, as it apparently has, then the best way to resolve the issue is to seek entry of an order permitting you to pick up your grandchild. If this is a mid-week visit for dinner, which I assume it is because of the limited time frame (5pm-7pm), the court may want to know why the parent is unable to pick the child up. Is he working? What is the drive time to pick up the child, take the child to his father, and return the child by 7pm? How long has this been going on? Is this a new matter in the court system?
If there are no provisions in the order(s) of the court prohibiting the presence of third parties when child is with mother, then there is nothing that can be said about the "boyfriend" accompanying them to California. He may wish to file a motion to request restrictions of third parties, since the courts do have the authority to impose restrictions/limitations on parenting time issues. Most courts, however, will not and, according to Court of Appeals case, cannot substitute their judgment/moral beliefs for those of the parties. Courts will enforce agreements between parties which prohibit the presence of unrelated persons of the opposite sex from spending overnights while a child is present, but it must be by agreement of the parties. If he misses parenting time due to her trip to California, your son should file a parenting time
complaint with the Friend of the Court and seek make-up parenting time. Your son would be wise to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney.
Neil M. Colman
Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.