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Thank you for your question. You mentioned that your son and his wife are divorced. Normally, a divorce would include a custody order for any children of the ex-spouses. Does your son and his wife have a custody order? If so, what does the order say about visitation?
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Thank you for that information. Knowing that there was a custody order, I may be able to answer your question right now. Generally speaking, neither parent has superior custodial or visitation rights over the other unless the court has made an order related to custody and visitation. When the court makes an order, that determines the rights of each parent with regard to custody and visitation. If the court's order says that the mother has full physical and legal custody of the children and no visitation to the father except with the consent of the mother, that would be the limit of the father's custodial and visitation rights. So in your case, you may want to consider doing as you suggested by contacting your son to find out exactly what rights the court says he has.
That said, the second part of your question was whether there was anything your son could do...
Custody orders can be changed any time there is a material change in circumstances, as long as the change is in the best interests of the children. Usually, it's in the best interests of the children if they can have significant and consistent contact with both parents. If the current custody order is not in the children's best interest, either parent may go to court and ask for the order to be modified.
Certainly. Did you have any other question?
Every situation is different, so there may be things that would work in his situation that might not work in others, or vice-versa, but some things that are sometimes helpful are taking a parenting class, getting experience taking care of other kids, and getting CPR certified. You mentioned that the mother has wanted him drug tested--do we have any reason to believe that the kids would be in danger if they had visitation with him?
Ok, so really, it sounds like there may be some issues with the mother being overprotective, controlling, and/or critical of the other parent's ability to take care of his own kids. The legal presumption is that kids need two parent influence, so unless there is an affirmative, evidence-based reason to exclude one parent, the court prefers to give both parents unsupervised visitation rights. It concerns me that you said the mother "had papers drawn up" that your son signed--the tone of that statement suggests that the agreement may not have undergone much scrutiny, or been examined by an attorney representing your son. Talk to your son about what is in the custody order, then you can look at taking the next step of asking the court to modify it so it can reflect what is actually best for the children instead of what the mother wants.
Does that make sense?
A year is a long time. I have had plenty of clients who struggled with substance addiction. It's a factor of consideration, but the court recognizes that people clean up their lives even if the other parent doesn't recognize it.
Did you have any other question?
It was my pleasure. Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please feel free to leave a positive rating once you are completely finished (I work for ratings). Thanks.