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Can one parent refuse to allow an ex's relative to do a pick up of a child in a joint custody arrangement ?

Dedham, MA |

My ex and I have joint legal and physical (50-50) custody of our 4 year old daughter. She is saying that she will not release our daughter to my mother, and will only release to me, at pick up time at her home on Saturday morning. There is nothing at all in the court order specifying who can/can't do pick ups when parenting time begins. There is not a safety issue with my mother and she has an appropriate car seat. Can my ex deny me the right to have my mother pick up our daughter when my parenting time is to begin if I occasionally need her to ?

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Attorney answers 4


I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with this difficult issue. It sounds like your ex is trying to be difficult. If there is no order preventing your mother from picking up your child and no safety concerns, then there should be no problem with your mother occasionally picking up the child. You should tell your ex that it is much simpler to have an agreement rather than face a modification action in court to address this issue. Good luck.

Advice provided is of a general nature to provide guidance. Divorce law is state specific. One should always check the laws in their home jurisdiction. An attorney-client relationship is not intended or established through provided responses.

Howard M Lewis

Howard M Lewis


always great counsel


Attorney Reinert is one of the finest family attorneys in MA and he gave you an excellent answer, unless she has a good reason, the court will most likely not care who does the pick ups. take care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


A parent with legal custody of a child certainly has the right to exercise her discretion about who cares for the child. The sensible thing to do is to press her about why she is unwilling to allow your mother to handle the transition. If you can't resolve the matter between you, you could suggest bringing the question to a skilled mediator. You would involve the court as a last resort, first through a motion for clarification and, if that is unavailable, through a complaint for modification. However, in order to file such a complaint you need to show that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstance since the order entered. Your best course is to try to understand the mother's position and to address it with her directly.

Answers posted to the AVVO site are for informational purposes only and are based upon incomplete facts. They do not constitute legal advice and do not establish an attorney-client relationship between Citron Law and the person who posted the query, or any person reading the answer to the query.

Howard M Lewis

Howard M Lewis


great answer.


I'm sorry you are dealing with this difficult situation. As my colleagues suggested, I would try and speak with your ex regarding why she does not want your mother picking up your daughter. It may be that she has a legitimate reason, but it is also possible that she is just being difficult. As you have joint custody, she does have a say in who your child is left with, but without a legitimate reason behind her refusal, it is unlikely that a judge would enforce it. It would be ideal if you could come to an agreement with you ex over this rather than spend the time and money to have it heard by a judge. Good luck.

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