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  1. #1
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    Default Delegation of Visitation by a Parent to the Grandparents

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    The problem with that is that Dad is allowed to have the grandparents spend time with the kids during his visitation time. It is not up to the mother to impose requirements of whom Dad allows to see the kids during his vistitation time or for how long. Should Mom deny visitation as you suggest, Dad may bring a motion for contempt and would likely win for that reason. If Mom doesn’t like that the grandparents get to spend time with the kids on his time, she needs to file the appropriate motion with the court either modify visitation to eliminate the father's visitation if she can prove he never sees the kids anyway or to prevent the kids from seeing the grandparents on his time. Good luck with either of those.
    There is a fine line between obeying the court order and allowing grandparents to get back door grandparent visitation when the law would not give that to them. There is a difference between them sharing dad's time and exercising dad's time. If dad wants to pick them up and deliver them to the grandparents, at least dad will have spent the car drive with them.

    If I were in mom's shoes my defense to a trip to court for contempt would be that I was trying to make sure that dad spent at least a little bit of time with them, by making it so that only he could pick them up.

    However you are right. She could accomplish the same thing by taking dad back to court for a modification.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    There is a fine line between obeying the court order and allowing grandparents to get back door grandparent visitation when the law would not give that to them. There is a difference between them sharing dad's time and exercising dad's time. If dad wants to pick them up and deliver them to the grandparents, at least dad will have spent the car drive with them.

    If I were in mom's shoes my defense to a trip to court for contempt would be that I was trying to make sure that dad spent at least a little bit of time with them, by making it so that only he could pick them up.

    However you are right. She could accomplish the same thing by taking dad back to court for a modification.
    What is wrong with "backdoor grandparent visitation" as you put it? It is up to the parent whose time it is to control where the children are. There is absolutely nothing improper about dad allowing the children to be with his parents during his time. In fact it is the proper time for his parents to see his children.

    it is not up to the mother to determine who the children spend time with during dads visitation time. That would be attempting to exert control she has no right to.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    There is a fine line between obeying the court order and allowing grandparents to get back door grandparent visitation when the law would not give that to them.
    No, there is not. Unless the custody order provides otherwise, the parent who has parenting time with the children gets to choose where they stay, who they stay with, and whether or not they will be allowed to spend time with relatives, away at camp, at a sleepover, or anywhere else that the parent deems appropriate.
    Quote Quoting llworking
    If dad wants to pick them up and deliver them to the grandparents, at least dad will have spent the car drive with them.
    But unless the court order says that dad can't delegate pick-up to his parents, he can delegate pick-up to his parents.
    Quote Quoting llworking
    If I were in mom's shoes my defense to a trip to court for contempt would be that I was trying to make sure that dad spent at least a little bit of time with them, by making it so that only he could pick them up.
    Just because she wants to make dad's life more difficult? There are plenty of reasons to allow an appropriate third party to facilitate exchanges, and few to try to stop that from happening.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    There is a fine line between obeying the court order and allowing grandparents to get back door grandparent visitation when the law would not give that to them. There is a difference between them sharing dad's time and exercising dad's time.
    Unless the visitation order in place says that Dad cannot let his parents have the kids during his visitation time or places restrictions on it then that is a distinction without a difference. It is not up to Mom dictate how the child spends time during Dad’s visitation. If Mom really doesn’t like that dad has the grandparents pick them up and drop them off or doesn’t like that the grandparents have substantial time with the kids Mom’s only remedy for that is going back to court to modify the order. Withholding the kids from Dad’s visitation because Mom simply wants to dictate how much time Dad spends with the kids versus the grandparents is a violation of most court orders and would find Mom in contempt of court.

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    If I were in mom's shoes my defense to a trip to court for contempt would be that I was trying to make sure that dad spent at least a little bit of time with them, by making it so that only he could pick them up.
    All I can say is that where I practice that defense would be a loser. The judges take a dim view of parents trying to dictate what the other parent does during his/her visitation time.

    And Mom ought to be careful what she wishes for. Because if it is fair game for her to dictate what goes on during Dad’s time it would be fair game for Dad to do the same during Mom’s time. The fights would be endless. It’s one reason why the courts do not want enable parents to engage in that sort of thing. And in those fights Mom might well find that the court imposes restrictions on her she really doesn’t like just because Dad wants to impose his way.

    She may move for modification of the order to restrict grandparent time with the kids during the father’s time, but she better have some compelling evidence that the kids are suffering harm because of it. The court won’t do it just because she doesn’t like it.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    So, you believe that grandparents, who do not live with their adult child, when their adult child is not interested in spending time with his children, should be able to exercise his parenting time in his place? Completely in his place?

    That is not how it works. That is where the fine line is drawn.

    If dad does not care, he is not going to take mom to court for contempt for not allowing his parents to have the children. If he is willing to make the effort to take mom to court for contempt, then its going to come to light to the judge that dad has not been exercising his parenting time, his parents have been doing so.

    Back door grandparent visitation is a bad thing because it gives grandparents a false sense of entitlement that virtually always ends up biting EVERYBODY involved in the butt, later on down the road.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    S
    If dad does not care, he is not going to take mom to court for contempt for not allowing his parents to have the children. If he is willing to make the effort to take mom to court for contempt, then its going to come to light to the judge that dad has not been exercising his parenting time, his parents have been doing so.

    .
    I'm not sure how you came up with that conclusion. I know you don't think parents never lie on the stand:


    Mom: Your honor, Dad hasn't been seeing the children at all during his parenting time ... it's always the grandparents

    Judge: Dad, is this true?

    Dad: Not at all. My parents do the driving because my car is never reliable and I want the children to be safe.

    Judge: How long have they been transporting the children?

    Dad: For a couple of weeks now

    Judge: Mom, your problem with this new arrangement is what, exactly?

    alternate answer

    Dad: They've always done transportation when I've needed them to step in. I have no idea why Mom is suddenly making a big deal about it

    Judge: Mom?


    *******

    The court isn't going to put an 8 year old on the stand to testify against one or both of his parents. If this comes down to he said/she said, I can't see how Mom doesn't come off looking like a petty arse.

    Perhaps we should start looking into the woods instead of focusing on the pretty trees.

    Edit: Wait. In another thread you were Dad. So just who are you?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    So, you believe that grandparents, who do not live with their adult child, when their adult child is not interested in spending time with his children, should be able to exercise his parenting time in his place? Completely in his place?

    That is not how it works. That is where the fine line is drawn.

    If dad does not care, he is not going to take mom to court for contempt for not allowing his parents to have the children. If he is willing to make the effort to take mom to court for contempt, then its going to come to light to the judge that dad has not been exercising his parenting time, his parents have been doing so.

    Back door grandparent visitation is a bad thing because it gives grandparents a false sense of entitlement that virtually always ends up biting EVERYBODY involved in the butt, later on down the road.
    That's not back door grandparent time. How does she know for a fact how much time he spends with the kids? She's not there.

    How is he not exercising his time? He has them picked up on his dates and then they're taken back. The other parent doesn't determine what is a reasonable amount of time.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Will a Court Let a Child Decide to Stop Visitation

    Quote Quoting jk
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    I suspect there is something you are doing to make the child believe what is being done is somehow an bad thing. Do you have a problem with the grandparents having the child with them? If so, take it up with the court but more than likely a court is going to tell you to keep your nose out of the fathers visitation time.
    I agree with this. Even if the mom is doing it subconsciously, it sounds like the child could be taking a cue from the mom.

    I know in our case, the biomom would tell the kids how much she missed them when they were at dads, and make a huge deal out of it. The kids would feel terrible and guilty, so they would tell their mom they didn't want to go. Then the mom would yell at my husband and try to keep the kids during his time. It was an ongoing fight for years until the kids got old enough to figure it out.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    So, you believe that grandparents, who do not live with their adult child, when their adult child is not interested in spending time with his children, should be able to exercise his parenting time in his place? Completely in his place?

    That is not how it works. That is where the fine line is drawn.
    Whether I think the grandparents should be able to spent all the time with the kids isn’t really relevant as my opinion on the matter is probably of no interest to anyone other than me. What matters is what the court order says. The father is free to spend time with the kids as he likes on his visitation time, including having the kids spend time with the grandparents unless the court order expressly states otherwise. So yes, the kids could spend every minute of dad’s time with the grandparents if the dad wanted because there is no order in place prohibiting it. That’s the way our system of law works. If that is truly what is happening and the Mom doesn’t like it, then she is free to petition the court to modify the court order to impose a suitable restriction to prevent that from happening. Whether a court will grant that I of course cannot say. The point here, though, is that going back to court is Mom’s remedy here. She does not get to unilaterally deny the visitation and refuse to release the kids to the grandparents because she does not like that the kids are spending time with the grandparents, even if the father does in fact spend no time with the kids. Moreover, I agree with the others the proving that the father does not spent any time with the kids is likely going to be difficult, not the least of because it's probably not literally true that he spends absolutely no time with them. Mom may assume that because the grandparents pick them up and drop them off but that is not a logical assumption to make.

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Back door grandparent visitation is a bad thing because it gives grandparents a false sense of entitlement that virtually always ends up biting EVERYBODY involved in the butt, later on down the road.
    That may or may not be the case, though I respect your opinion on it. But that does not change how the law plays out on this though.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Child Visitation when Does Child Have a Say

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Whether I think the grandparents should be able to spent all the time with the kids isn’t really relevant as my opinion on the matter is probably of no interest to anyone other than me. What matters is what the court order says. The father is free to spend time with the kids as he likes on his visitation time, including having the kids spend time with the grandparents unless the court order expressly states otherwise. So yes, the kids could spend every minute of dad’s time with the grandparents if the dad wanted because there is no order in place prohibiting it. That’s the way our system of law works. If that is truly what is happening and the Mom doesn’t like it, then she is free to petition the court to modify the court order to impose a suitable restriction to prevent that from happening. Whether a court will grant that I of course cannot say. The point here, though, is that going back to court is Mom’s remedy here. She does not get to unilaterally deny the visitation and refuse to release the kids to the grandparents because she does not like that the kids are spending time with the grandparents, even if the father does in fact spend no time with the kids. Moreover, I agree with the others the proving that the father does not spent any time with the kids is likely going to be difficult, not the least of because it's probably not literally true that he spends absolutely no time with them. Mom may assume that because the grandparents pick them up and drop them off but that is not a logical assumption to make.
    Short Background: In the 90's and early 2000's I was involved in a relatively large, nation wide parent's advocacy organization that was instrumental in getting Washington State to find its third party visitation rights unconstitutional and which led to the Troxel vs Granville decision (and our organization wrote an amicus brief for that case). We then were instrumental in getting other state supreme courts to find that Troxel applied to their state as well.

    Its been a 10 or so years since I have been involved in a case like this one. However, off of the top of my head I can think of at least a dozen or so cases, similar to this one, where the custodial parent was not found in contempt for denying the grandparent's the right to pick up the children when the custodial parent had a reasonable belief that the non custodial was not present for the visitation. In those cases where the courts continued to allow the grandparents to pick up the children it was with the clear guideline that they were to be picking up the children as a convenience for the non-custodial parent, not as a replacement for the non-custodial parent. I can think of at least half a dozen cases where the courts flat out ruled (after the non-custodial parent attempted to hold the custodial parent in contempt) that the grandparents were not permitted to pick up the children.

    I have seen many family law attorneys make the argument that you have made here, that since the law allows the non-custodial parent to share their time with grandparent that it means that the grandparents can have that time even if the non-custodial parent is rarely if ever, present. I have never seen that argument actually succeed in court.

    Prior to Troxel, that argument wasn't needed because courts handed out visitation to grandparents (and non custodial parent style visitation) upon the asking...like candy. The worst case I ever saw was a Florida case where a GAL actually recommend that a mother retain custody, but that each of the following parties would receive one weekend a month: Dad, one weekend and one weekday. Dad's mother, one weekend and one weekday. Dad's father, one weekend and one weekday. As a result, the custodial parent, mom, actually only would have had one weekend and one weekday a month. Thankfully the judge saw the stupidity of that.

    Since Troxel, judges have been more cognizant of parent's constitutional rights and have been far more reluctant to make orders that allow for back door grandparent visitation. Please understand, when I am talking about backdoor grandparent visitation I am talking about situations where the non-custodial parent is uninterested or only marginally interested, but goes along with establishing visitation rights in order to placate his/her parents...but has little interest in actually exercising those rights. His/her parents have no interest in establishing a relationship with the mother of their grandchildren that makes them a welcome addition into the children's lives rather than an adversary.

    Unfortunately grandparents often do more harm than good in situations where the parents of their grandchildren are no longer together. I think that its pretty clear on these forums...we have seen a lot of that.

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