My ex leaves our son at home alone with his in-laws, who speak *no* English. I'm concerned about safety. Does court care?
I'm concerned about safety during an emergency, as well as his ability to communicate any needs he might have.
Is there a family law perspective on this? Is this relevant to raise in our forthcoming visitation hearing? (He is requesting more time.)
3 attorney answers
I agree with Attorney Averett. There is no legal requirement that children only be cared for by people who speak English, or have cars and driver's licenses. I think consulting with a family law attorney prior to your visitation hearing may be beneficial, but this fact pattern does not seem to suggest anything that goes against the best interest of your child, which is up paramount importance in North Carolina.
There is absolutely no legal requirement that children only be cared for by people who speak English, or have cars and driver's licenses. Infants have no problem communicating their needs even before they learn to speak, and I bet your son can do so too. And I agree with Attorney Houser that the age of the child matters as well. If you have a forthcoming visitation hearing, then you should consult with an attorney to ask how the judges in your district would react to your concerns and what you can expect in court. The court is not likely to find that a child being left with visiting non-English speaking grandparents is an issue, and may think it's an great opportunity for the child to learn another language, in addition to being much better than the child being left with an unrelated babysitter. I also don't think you will get any traction complaining that they don't drive given that lots of families do not have cars. Since you have a forthcoming visitation hearing, then you should consult with an attorney to ask how the judges in your district would react to your concerns and what you can expect in court.
Who cares if the Court 'cares'? Your real question appears to be will the Court potentially do anything about it - the answer to that is - maybe. It depends mostly on the age of the child. If the child is an infant and also speaks no English - it doesn't really matter that in-laws don't speak English now does it. Assuming they are intelligent enough to dial 911 or seek other help in the event of an emergency I see no language related safety issue. If the child is older and talking, while it may be difficult for the child to express concerns and maybe even a bit awkward to be around people who speak no English - I don't see much of a risk there either. However, if you can point to a reasonable language related safety risk and to can't get your ex to agree to stop, then you could potentially go to Court to seek an order preventing the child from being left alone with the in laws. That said, if the child likes the in laws and there are no other concerns - such an order would likely do more harm than good! Best of luck to you!
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