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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
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I need to write a letter to the judge regarding the visitation

Customer Question

I need to write a letter to the judge regarding the visitation schedule currently set up for my 7 month old twin girls. In August, they will be 8 months old and the father of the girls will have over night visits every other weekend for one night per weekend. I do not feel safe having them away at this age with him; he has never had them for longer than five to six hours at any given time. I'm trying to draft a letter to the judge requesting that he not receive overnights until he has spent more time with them. They're not familiar with him, and I feel as though this should be something that he works his way up to [i.e. starting out with a couple hours of visitation a two to three days per week in the evening, eventually moving up maybe 6 to 8 hours per day on the weekend, gradually increasing that 8 hours to 10-12 hours, and eventually getting to a point where he has a full 24 hour visitation including overnights] where he's had the chance to deal with and learn their needs at a gradual pace. He has never had the girls alone; he always has his mother or misc other family member there to help him and that concerns me as well. The girls are healthy except for one of them having spells where she will quit breathing and become unresponsive [turns blue, eyes roll back into her head] and within seconds she'll come back to. I have had to call the ambulance once before, and she is currently receiving work up to hopefully find the root of the problem. I don't feel comfortable with him having overnight visits until this is ruled out. I would like him to attend any and all doctor appointments regarding this matter so I am aware of his capability in caring for our child(ren). I would like to request that he not receive full overnights until the girls are at least two years of age; at that point they will be able to recognize him, feel comfortable around him, and I can rest assured that they are safe with him. Am I being too paranoid?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, please do not hesitate to reply if you have additional questions or need more information.

 

I don't think you're being paranoid (you're a mom!), but I think you're being unrealistic with your expectations as to what a court would do. First, you should know a letter isn't going to have any effect, no matter how well written. It's an ex-parte (one party) communication and so the judge isn't likely to read it, and even if they did, the court cannot act upon a letter.

 

You can file for a modification of the custody/visitation agreement, but this is a heavy burden; you have to show that there has been some sort of material change in circumstances since the last custody order and that it is in the best interest of the children.

 

Are the children well cared for when with him? Has he ever abused them or neglected them in any way? Does he abuse drugs or alcohol or exhibit wild or unsafe behavior in their presence? If not, there's no reason for a court to withhold visitation. Would he not know what to do in an emergency, or to not call 911 if necessary?

 

The goal of the court is to involve both parents in the lives of their children, and to establish as normal a lifestyle as if the parents were together. That means both parents are entitled to overnight visitation absent good cause. To say that the children don't know him well enough, but then say you want the court to not give him overnight visitation until the children are 2 years old is in conflict with one another, nor have I ever seen a court do that. If he's had the children for 5-6 hours at a time, the court will presume he has had the opportunity to interact with them, feed them, change them, play with them, and build a relationship with them. Overnight visitation is the next logical step.

 

You are certainly free to file for a modification of visitation, but based on these limited facts, I don't see a court changing anything.

 

 

 

 

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RobertJDFL
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