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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Arizona

    Two children ages 3 and 1. Primary residence with mother. Father moved to Texas ("just because"). Children are too young to be sent to visit him, and he is financially unable to purchase tickets to escort them to/from Texas. If/When he wants to see them, he has to come to Arizona. He has no residence, can only crash with friends. He has no clothes/diapers/food for them. Currently driving on suspended license with no car insurance. What are the minimum "amenities" or environment which he has to provide for them. Is the mother able to refuse visitation because this environment is not met.

    What kind of environment is he required to provide if/when they do travel to Texas.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    Roof (doesn't matter whose roof), food, clothing - however, there's realistically (in the interest of good co-parenting) no reason why you can't send this stuff with the kids when he comes to Arizona.

    If you make a big deal out of it, he'll simply run out and buy clothing from Goodwill, a few boxes of mac and cheese and bingo - he's set.

    You cannot withhold court-ordered visitation based upon what you've said.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    He moved out of state after custody was set. There is nothing in our decree about splitting the cost for visitation, so I shouldn't be expected to have to pay for plane tickets, correct?

    Also, he has never paid child support and has not followed the visitation plan (standard once a week, every other weekend) so after a year I can go back and file for sole custody, correct?

  4. #4
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    You have the first part absolutely correct - unless you're ordered, you absolutely do not have to provide transportation or split the costs of visitation. However, if it goes to court you could end up being ordered to pay half.

    Is he actually ordered to pay child support? If so, and he hasn't paid, your remedy is to file contempt (or open a case with CSE and let them take care of enforcing it).

    What do your orders actually say - word for word minus names - about custody? Do you have joint legal? How often IS he seeing the kids?

    What do you believe sole custody will accomplish? (Not snarky - legitimate question!)
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    He is ordered to pay child support. He has payed some, but never through clearinghouse and not consistently.

    It is joint legal and joint physical custody, with primary residence with me. The parenting plan is the standard template of once a week and every other weekend, alternating holidays and two weeks summer vacation for each parent.

    Initially he was seeing them more than required, then took a job traveling and saw them maybe every other week 3 days at a time, then he moved back to town but rarely saw them then just moved away and hasnt seen them at all. He calls frequently, however not much conversation from a 3 year old.

    Sole custody would just be to have greater control as I see fit. The people he associates with do drugs, however as far as I know he does not. He has been staying at my house when he comes to town, although I assume that may not be such a good set up in the long term. The relationship between us is actually fine/good/friendly and he has unlimited access to them as long as I know who they are around and hes welcome in my house and I keep him in the loop on things. Only sticking point is minimal and infrequent child support and questionable environment.

    May not do anything, just like to know my options.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    Sole custody isn't going to change his environment, unfortunately, nor will it give you greater control over what happens during his parenting time if visitation isn't actually at your house.

    (And I'll be honest - if you can tolerate each other enough to have him stay at your house when he does have visitation, that's pretty darned good of you and you deserve some kudos for that. You're loving your child more than you hate your ex and unfortunately not many parents can get past that)

    At this point, if I were you I'm not sure I'd rock the boat. He's coming to you - and that does give you an awful lot of control over what happens in your house. However, he is also entitled to take the kids wherever he wants (to an extent - obviously he can't be taking two infants to a strip club every night). In order for that to change you'd have to prove that he was endangering them. Otherwise the court will trust his judgment and assume he wouldn't be putting them in any danger.

    I'd also seriously consider being very firm about child support. It's your right, and the right of your child.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    Sole custody does not mean he has no visitation rights?

    And I should go through CSE?

    BTW thank you for your thoughtful replies.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Visitation Rights for Out-Of-State Joint-Custody Parent

    Sole legal custody = the parent has sole decision-making powers.

    Sole physical custody = the parent decides where the child lives and goes to school.

    Neither of those means the other parent can't visit.

    It's very, very rare that the court will order absolutely no visitation; it tends to be in cases where the parent has abused the child in question and represents a definite threat. Gotta tell you, even felons and sex offenders can have visitation - and in some cases even custody - of their children as long as those children haven't been abused.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

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