If my children do not want to go with their dad for a custody night, must I force them to go?

My kids are ages 10, 8, and 6. My 10 year old has a mild form of autism. Over the weekend, they said their dad's girlfriend of 7 months "yelled and yelled" and they "felt scared." She told my 8 y.o. that he is stupid and he needs to shut his "big fat mouth." She has also disciplined my child with autism by smacking his hand. My kids say they "don't feel safe" going with their dad anymore because they are scared of his girlfriend and "Dad doesn't care, he doesn't do anything, he says it's [the girlfriend's] job, not his." Do I have to force them to go anyway? It is quite disturbing to send my children off into an environment that is perceived as unsafe or threatening to them.

Ann Arbor, MI -

Attorney Answers (4)

Akiva E. Goldman

Akiva E. Goldman

Child Custody Lawyer - Southfield, MI
Answered

You should consider filing a motion with the court to modify dad's parenting time. Unfortunately, until the current order is modified, you will have to continue sending your kids to their dad. I hope it works out for you. Kind regards, Akiva.

My answer should be construed as general information only, and it should not be considered legal advice. No... more
Laurel Stuart-Fink

Laurel Stuart-Fink

Divorce / Separation Lawyer - Bingham Farms, MI
Answered

If you violate the court order, you can be held in contempt and the other parent can be granted not only make-up parenting time, but attorney fees as well for having to seek relief in court. If you are concerned that the children are being mis-treated in their father's home, the appropriate action is to file a motion and request a modification of parenting time. In order to do so, you will have to be able to demonstrate "proper cause," and if your child's claims are true, consider corroboration from a school counsel or therapist, who can interview your children and issue a recommendation or report for the court to consider. This is an important issue, and you would be best served by an experienced family law attorney.

This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor... more
Loren M. Dickstein

Loren M. Dickstein

Criminal Defense Attorney - Southfield, MI
Answered

I agree with the previous answers, if you are concerned about the situation, you should ask the court or the Friend of the Court to re-visit the parenting time arrangement. Contact an experienced family law lawyer to help you.

Craig Jackson

Craig Jackson

Elder Law Attorney - Holland, MI
Answered

I agree with the other attorneys. You have options, but right now you have to follow the court order.

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