My ex and I have 50/50 legal and physical custody of our 8 year old daughter. My ex and her husband (my daughter's step-father) recently took my daughter on a trip and my daughter told me afterwards that when they stayed in the hotel room during the trip (one hotel room with two double beds) my daughter slept in the same bed with her step-father, not in the bed with her mom (my ex). My daughter didn't voice any specific discomfort with this situation, however, for obvious reasons, this is not something I'm okay with and I don't want it happening again in the future. I'm curious how the courts would look upon this situation (and I have any recourse to prevent this from happening)? Do I have to prove this happened if I bring it to them? Does it even matter? As much as I don't want this to happen, do I have any legal grounds to prevent this from happening?
If you bring this matter to the court, you must be able to prove it happened. That being said, courts are incredibly busy. I would suggest discussing this matter with your ex before bringing forth an action.
As my colleague correctly points out you have to prove such allegation in a court; but see if your ex will stipulate or agree to modifying the language of your parenting agreement to specify that child MUST NEVER sleep in bed with step father. IF you can work it out in advance of court, you can make a one day appearance in court to have the amendment entered into judgment. Get a lawyer to prepare the stipulation and appear in court for you.
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I do agree with the above answers. Your best recourse is speaking to your ex, and trying to work out an agreement. If you have an agreement, getting it added to the judgment is much simpler than filing a complaint to change the terms of the custody agreement alleging this fact pattern. Chances are, you would not be able to prove this occurred in court.
I agree that this might be difficult to provide in court. However, if your ex does not agree to prevent this from happening in the future you might consider reporting the incident to the Department of Children and Families ("DCF"), assuming you do not have any questionable conduct or conditions in your own home. There is no circumstance under which it is appropriate for an unrelated grown man (and questionable even for a father) to sleep in the same bed with an eight year old girl. DCF would likely investigate, in part, by interviewing your child, her mother and the step father. At the very least, DCF would explain to the mother and step-father that his sleeping in the same bed with your daughter is completely inappropriate and that it cannot happen again. The DCF report would be admissible in a later court proceeding if you have the social worker available to testify.
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