I am the non professional superviser for supervised visitation between my step daughter and her mother. The next visit is scheduled for November 23rd, The visit goes from 10:15 am - 2:15 pm. This means that lunch should be incoperataed into the visit. But my husband's (the childs father) family who does not get to see the child very oftern, have plans to go out to eat after the visit. I am going to mention this to mother and let her know that she can being snacks and whatnot for the visit but that the child will not be eating lunch during the visit. I just am not sure whether I have the right to tell the mother this.
Are you going to supervise the visit?
Yes, you should let her know
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Family Law Attorney
You do not say how old the child is, but certainly someone should tell the child's mother of father's plans -- although in all fairness to you, it should be father and not you who does so. Depending on the child's age, it may be very unrealistic to expect the child to wait until mid-afternoon for lunch, regardless of how often father's family gets to see the child! Frankly, it seems that it would be more prudent to allow the child to have lunch during the visit, and perhaps postponing the late lunch to an early dinner, for the least amount of disruption to the child's schedule.
In addition, this would likely limit the potential friction between you, the new wife, and mother, with regard to her daughter. It seems you are being placed in an unenviable position.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Considering that there is a (presumably) young child visiting her father during lunch time, I am surprised that neither you nor her father want to provide her with lunch or a snack during a four hour visit. As a supervisor of the visit, common sense should tell you that you to at least have a sandwich and some food ready so that your step-daughter doesn't go hungry, or yes, let her mother know so that she can pack food for her daughter--either you should or her father should tell her mother. Someone needs to. The courts look out for the best interest of children. You should as well.
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If the question of who will provide meals during the supervised visits was not addressed in the order, it should have been. If this is a regular time slot for the visits an agreement should be reached, to avoid another time consuming court hearing. People can use common sense without having to run to a court over every little item. As a lawyer who works extensively with divorcing couples, visitation and custody issues, I urge my clients to seek an agreement, if they can, among themselves to avoid unnecessary motion practice.
Having said that, the responsibility is between the parents, not a nonprofessional third party (I mean no disrespect in such a classification). It should be a relatively simply accommodation for the mother to bring a small meal to share with her child during the visit. Have the father inform the mother-- no elaborate explanation, simply "bring a snack for your daughter this time."
If this will be an on-going issue (every visit is during lunch) try to reach an agreement about who will provide the meal. It shouldn't be a cause for huge contention. If it comes an issue, the father may have to resort to the courts. You as the supervisor should not get involved beyond supervising the visit.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Although the communication surrounding parenting plans normally involve the parents directly, there are many reasons why the step-parent assumes this role.
Although, as previously stated, it would be best if the order laid out the expectations during the child's visit with her mother, I would assume that at some point between the hours of 10:15 am - 2:15 pm, mom and her daughter are going to get lunch.
What is typically done? If mom usually provides lunch, then you could ask her if it's okay if she eats with her father's side of the family that day instead. A lot of this will fall back on how old the child is though. A 4-year old on a routine is not going to wait that late without getting cranky, and that's not fair to mom to have a hunger-induced cranky child during her visit. If the child is older, it isn't as big a deal as long as she eats a late breakfast and has a snack.
But, even if she eats lunch with mom, she can still go out to eat with dad's family without ruining everything. There's been plenty of times I've gone out to eat to enjoy the company, not necessarily to eat. Let her get an early dessert or pick at someone else's plate instead of eating again. There are lots of things that can be done in this type of situation so feel free to get creative to come up with an agreement that keeps the daughter's best interests at heart (not that of dad's family necessarily).
But, no, I don't think you should tell mom the child will not eat lunch during the visit. You can ask and make arrangements if she agrees to ensure the child doesn't go hungry, but I wouldn't advise just telling her that.
Best of luck!
This isn't really even a legal question...it's a parenting question. Forget for a minute this is a supervised visitation, why would anyone expect any child to go without lunch because they are having dinner later? You can ask mom to bring a snack, etc. for the child or dad could simply arrainge to have one for his daughter as well. Either way someone needs to just provide this child a lunch or appropriate snack and not over complicate the matter.
The above comments are general in nature and not intended to be legal advise nor create an attorney/client relationship. You should seek the advise of attorney working for you about all the facts of your case before taking an action.