Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello there --
No, you do not have to give her custody of the girls at this time until her own living situation improves and she can give them a better place to live. No court will make you turn the children over to her under these circumstances. However, if you want to make it official, then my suggestion is that you go to the original court where the custody order was set out and file a Motion for Modification of custody and ask for sole custody at this time until she can better show the court that she has achieved some level of stability and can start with visitation and then possible joint custody again at some point in the future. The court will act in what is in the best interests of the children in your case (that is actually the legal test -- the judge will way all factors and determine what situation your girls are better off being in and you can bet that the shelter will not be on the top of the judges list for the girls to live). You may be forced to permit visitation but my suggestion is that you ask that the visitation either be at your own house or supervised in some other manner by the court until your ex can show that she has found a steady place to live and to bring the girls for visitation rights to happen unsupervised.
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