So often, I have absolutely wonderful parents come in lamenting about how the other parent isn’t doing a good job — and maybe they aren’t. But I have to have the unfortunate conversation with clients or potential clients about just how high a level of bad the other parent has to be before the court is going to look at it as anything but a difference in parenting styles. Some examples:
- Courts don’t usually care about maintaining bedtimes, routines, your dietary preferences for your child, or even what you prefer your child to be taught.
- Exceptions: dietary decisions that are contrary to medical advice, teachings that are outside the norm of social acceptability (like for example a court MAY – not WILL but MAY — hear an argument that teaching prejudice is something they should intervene in depending on how severe the teaching
- Courts don’t usually care if the other parent is routinely a few minutes later for parenting time than it is scheduled for.
- Exceptions: frequent no shows or very long delays may lead to changes in the parenting schedule if you can document that it has been long going
- Court’s don’t usually care if the other parent has exposed the children to a new boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse
- Exception: the new partner has a violent criminal history or a child abuse history that’s provable or is currently engaging in criminal activity
- Court’s don’t generally care if the other parent is lazy and is spending their parenting time putting the kid in front of Xbox and sleeping in their chair or watching their shows.
- Exception: there is actual neglect of the child such as not feeding them or long stretches of lack of care of hygiene. However, with something like this the court may find it difficult to determine who is telling the truth and it often requires intervention by child protective services to get their attention.
If you are the fantastic parent, and you have a craptastic parent on the other side, please know that your child knows which is which. There may be things that they learn from both environments, and some of those things may not be what you want to teach them but may be of value.
We try to help you build a case for long term problems that a court may eventually want to address. We can also help you figure out what is something a court will want to be involved with or not, and I will honestly tell you whether I think your matter has a likelihood of success if brought before a judge. If you need a free consult to discuss please call 856-227-7888.