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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I found out that my ex-husband allowed my 12 year old daughter

Resolved Question:

I found out that my ex-husband allowed my 12 year old daughter to go on a date to the movies while she was with him for one of his every-other-weekend visits. He went along as well to chaperone, but I have been very clear with him as the mother with sole legal custody that she is not allowed to date until she is 16. Both he and my daughter kept this from me until I found out from one of hr friends and confronted them. He claims that he can let her do whatever she wants when she is with him and that I have no say. Is that true? I understand that I can't control what happens at his house in general, but when it comes to fundamental rules that I have set for her as her sole custodial parent, can he just let her do anything she wants? Where does one draw the line? Where would the court draw the line? He does NOT have joint custody. He only has visitation. Can he change the fundamental rules that I've set for her? What can I do? She is learning from him that's it's ok to hide things from her Mom. She is not mature enough to begin dating at 12 years old. I fear this is only the beginning if I don't take action? Dating now. I also found out that he let her start drinking coffee already. What's next? Alcahol? Help! What recourse do I have here? Any suggestions?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
The only thing you can do is move the court to revoke his visitation, since he is her guardian while she is in his custody for visitation. Even though you have sole custody, it does not prohibit him from making this type of decision when she is in his care and since you told him you did not want her to date and he is not abiding by your decision your recourse is to file a motion in court to restrict his visitation.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

One quick followup question....


Would the court generally agree that 12 years old is too young for a girl to begin dating or would I need to have a psychologist back me up with my petition to limit visitation?



Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
You would likely need a psychologist to help you on that one, more because the father was chaperoning and was there with her and the court may think differently if he allowed her to go without chaperoning. As far as drinking coffee, that is not an illegal substance nor is it an age restricted substance, so the court will likely not consider that as a factor at all.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.



I thought of another question relating to this situation.


I have 2 other children with my ex-husband in addition to my 12-year old daughter we discussed last night. They are 11 (daughter) and 14 (son).


Our divorce agreement only allows my ex visitation every other weekend.


My son has Aspergers and severe dyslexia and is attending private school. I have for the past several months allowed my son to stay with my ex for more time than the divorce agreement specifies. (e.g. every other week - not just every other weekend) so he could help with transportation to private school.


In light of my discovery this weekend of secrets that my ex has been trying to keep from me (12-yr old daughter dating and more I keep discovering the more I dig), would it be wise of me to revert back to the visitation schedule as written in the divorce agreement while I assess the depth of the dishonesty and secrets and whether there is further information relating to my other children that he is keeping from me? This is what I would like to do but want to first understand what if any impact it would have.


Incidentally, I mentioned I have had sole legal custody for 10 years, but my ex is working to get joint custody in order to have more control of the children. I am contesting it for several reasons I won't go into here. But I have tried to be generous wth visitation to show that the custody plan in place now works fine and doesn't need to be changed. Is the dishonesty above a good enough reason to revert to the court-mandated visitation schedule and will it help or hurt my ex's case in his attempt for joint custody?


How would the court view this? What do you recommend?


If I do revert strictly to the "every other week" visitation schedule while I assess the situation, what is the best way to communicate that to my ex?




Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
This depends on how your son seems to be responding to the arrangement you now have. The court looks at each child individually and what is in that particular child's best interest (not your best interests or the dad's best interests). If your ex having your son longer appears to be helpful to your son and your son is responding to that arrangement, the court would not disturb it and at this point the only issue you have is with your 12 year old (and his conduct against your wishes will not endear him to the court towards joint custody because even in joint custody the two parents are supposed to support each other's wishes with the children).

If you decide to revert to the ordered schedule, the best way to tell your ex is just be direct and say that you are going back to the court ordered schedule because you believe it is best for the children.
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