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  1. #1

    Default Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

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

    My boyfriend and I currently live in an apartment together. His ex wife, and two boys, currently live in my boyfriend's house in Massachusetts. They've been living there because my boyfriend decided he did not want to live alone in his house, at the same time, she was being evicted with the kids from an apartment she stopped paying rent for. So it made sense to him, to give his kids a stable home. She does not make co-parenting easy.

    I believe they have joint custody, she has 70% of the time, and he has 30% of the time with his children. Instead of directly paying his ex-wife child support, they have an agreement for her to pay him weekly for rent, and he pays the rest of the mortgage which comes out to how much he would've paid child support. They have no formal lease agreement in writing. For a while she did not pay rent and she's owed him over $1,000 at times. He still pays for some of the kids activities (sports, doctors visits, dentist cavity fillings, etc), and we take them on the weekends to their games and practices.

    As of this month, he has been made aware by his youngest's teacher that he has missed many assignments and she is concerned. My boyfriend spoke with his ex-wife and they agreed for him to take his game console away while she was at work. He went to the ex wife's place of living (his house), with her agreeance, and took his game console. Upon going there, he realized the house has become severely filled with junk. There were just pathways to walk thru the house. The kitchen counters, and any table space is covered with junk. Her youngest's room is FILLED with her stuff (clothing mostly). He just has enough room to sleep on his bed. Things are piled up over 4 ft high in some areas of the house.

    My boyfriend voiced his concerns to her, because he needs to get the house re-appraised to get PMI taken off his mortgage. He was concerned they may call DCF on her for the state of the house. She did not respond kindly and barely responded at all.

    Now my boyfriend is currently repairing his house. He notices his youngest is home "Sick" with no fever. The ex wife has them during the school week, and allowed him to stay home while she was at work. He let him stay home the 1st day while working on the house, and on the 2nd day he was working on the house, his youngest was home "sick" again, with no fever and did not look sick. He took him to school and got a print off a how many days absent and tardy he was. We've grown seriously concerned. His grades are also not the best, I don't think they were ever "great" to begin with, but average. Out of 180 days so far, he's been absent for 16% of that time. 22 unexcused absenses, 6 excused, and 28 unexcused tardies.

    My boyfriend also received an early warning of truancy in the mail for the youngest. But I believe she changed the address that the school's mail goes to, because I am sure they've sent more letters than just the 1. I would like to add that she has previously had an addiction issue that my boyfriend knows about. When they divorced she went to rehab. We are under the impression she may be still struggling with an opiate addiction but do not have proof. We've also been concerned about their health. They are in the obese category of weight and height and feel like she is not giving them proper care.

    Are these grounds for taking primary time with the children? I'm unsure of the proper legal terms of it all. We would be evicting her at the same time if we are able to take primary timesharing with the kids so that they would stay in their home they've had since they were kids. Also they'd be able to go to the same school. We are seriously concerned for the well-being of the kids and worried if they keep up this bad habit of missing school, that they will not graduate high school and they will not do well in life. Will he need a lawyer or with the proof we have, can he represent himself? What else should we be doing? Any advice would be welcome. Thank you in advance. Please don’t bash me for asking for advice. We care about the children and want what’s best for them and we feel like they are not thriving with her as primary care taker of them. My boyfriend and I work together as a team and if I can help by asking for advice, I will do that.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    This is not a bash.

    You really need to have your boyfriend create an account and let him ask his own questions. There is no "we" in this that includes you.

    I believe they have joint custody, she has 70% of the time, and he has 30% of the time with his children.
    See you don't even know the legal custody situation.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
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    Are these grounds for taking primary time with the children? I'm unsure of the proper legal terms of it all.
    Not quite sure what this means, but your boyfriend cannot "take" anything that is inconsistent with the divorce decree (including any modifications). If he wants a modification, he should consult with a local family law attorney.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
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    We would be evicting her at the same time. . . .
    No, he would be evicting her.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
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    Will he need a lawyer or with the proof we have, can he represent himself?
    The extent of the evidence has nothing to do with the advisability of retaining counsel versus being self-represented. If your boyfriend is not acquainted with all applicable substantive and procedural laws and rules and incapable or unwilling to become so acquainted, then he probably should hire an attorney.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
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    My boyfriend and I work together as a team and if I can help by asking for advice, I will do that.
    That's fine. I have no problem with you asking questions on his behalf, but you do need to understand that, from a legal perspective, there is no "we."

  4. #4

    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    I understand there is no "We" from a legal perspective. I should've made that clear. I know there’s nothing I can do legally

    When I said “taking primary time” I meant going to court and getting a modification because she’s an unfit parent. But sounds like he’ll be needing an attorney.

    I just wanted to know if this was enough evidence of her being an unfit parent. School attendance, poor grades due to not passing in school work, and the house is a hoarding situation.

    Thank you.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
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    Upon going there, he realized the house has become severely filled with junk. There were just pathways to walk thru the house. The kitchen counters, and any table space is covered with junk. Her youngest's room is FILLED with her stuff (clothing mostly). He just has enough room to sleep on his bed. Things are piled up over 4 ft high in some areas of the house.
    Your boyfriend used to be married to this woman, so he should have a sense of whether this is "hoarding", messiness, or just a reluctance to fully move into a home that she may relocate out of at some point in the future.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    Now my boyfriend is currently repairing his house.
    So time has passed (how much?), your boyfriend is frequently at his house, and what has changed about the conditions inside the house? If "nothing" then his inaction is likely to ultimately suggest to a court that he was not sufficiently concerned about the conditions in the home to take action.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    He notices his youngest is home "Sick" with no fever. The ex wife has them during the school week, and allowed him to stay home while she was at work. He let him stay home the 1st day while working on the house, and on the 2nd day he was working on the house, his youngest was home "sick" again, with no fever and did not look sick.
    So your husband didn't feel that the child was sick enough to stay home from school but, although present at the house, let him stay home for two days anyway? That's not something he's going to be able to pin on his ex -- that effectively became a joint decision.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    Out of 180 days so far, he's been absent for 16% of that time. 22 unexcused absenses, 6 excused, and 28 unexcused tardies.... My boyfriend also received an early warning of truancy in the mail for the youngest. But I believe she changed the address that the school's mail goes to, because I am sure they've sent more letters than just the 1.
    So your boyfriend was notified by the school of a problem, has apparently learned that the problem was more serious than he thought, and he has since done what? If he truly believes that his address is incorrect with the school, what did he learn when he contacted the school to verify his address?
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    We've also been concerned about their health. They are in the obese category of weight and height and feel like she is not giving them proper care.
    This is something new, that your boyfriend didn't notice while exercising custody 30% of the time? If not, we're again in the position of having to ask, why hasn't he already taken action? Also, what material eating and lifestyle differences exist when the children are with him as opposed to with her? If "none", then the weight issue is attributable to both parents.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    Are these grounds for taking primary time with the children?
    We could not answer that without more information.
    Quote Quoting lovelylovelylife
    Will he need a lawyer or with the proof we have, can he represent himself?
    We are not in a position to assess his ability to represent himself in court; most people in custody cases benefit from having legal representation.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    She’s live in his house for 3 years and goes in the house maybe once every few months for maintenance or just peeks in the door to see if the kids need help or are ready to be picked up. He’s never seen it this bad before. He brought up the issue with her about his son being upset about the state of the house and not wanting friends over and how it’s affecting the kids.

    He’s not frequently inside the house. Maybe once every couple of months (3-4 months) he may just see in through the front door and not actually go inside.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    So your husband didn't feel that the child was sick enough to stay home from school but, although present at the house, let him stay home for two days anyway? That's not something he's going to be able to pin on his ex -- that effectively became a joint decision.
    The first day he let him stay home because the child said he threw up the night before. The 2nd day, he took him to school because he did not look sick. Both times my boyfriend did not arrive at that house until 10-11 am to start working on the house.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    So your boyfriend was notified by the school of a problem, has apparently learned that the problem was more serious than he thought, and he has since done what? If he truly believes that his address is incorrect with the school, what did he learn when he contacted the school to verify his address?
    He was notified one time as a warning and he promptly brought it to the ex wife’s attention. He only gets them Friday-Sunday so we do not know when he’s absent because the kids won’t tell him and the ex wife does not tell him. It’s like their secret from him. I believe the ex wife changed the address to her home address, so that way my boyfriend does not see the letters from the school anymore. She does not want him to know he’s missing school.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    This is something new, that your boyfriend didn't notice while exercising custody 30% of the time? If not, we're again in the position of having to ask, why hasn't he already taken action? Also, what material eating and lifestyle differences exist when the children are with him as opposed to with her? If "none", then the weight issue is attributable to both parents.
    He gets them after school Friday, and over night Saturday and Sunday. We don’t feed them junk food, I’ve seen them walk out of the house with cinnamon rolls, freeze pops and sugary drinks. It’s all just what we’ve seen. No we can’t prove what they’re eating at the house.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    I have confirmed it’s joint custody.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grounds to Modify Custody or Timeshare

    You are stating that your boyfriend has not made an issue of the conditions in the home before. If they're new, then they could be temporary. We have no reason to believe that his ex- became a hoarder overnight.

    You have changed your story about the kid's being home from school sick, but if your boyfriend let him miss one day then took him to school on the second then he remains jointly responsible for the decision for the child to stay home on the first day. Similarly, "I only feed the kids three days out of four, and have no idea what they eat at mom's", is not going to be a compelling case for trying to make it mom's fault that the kids are heavy.

    Your belief about what mom may have done is irrelevant. Again, if your boyfriend believes that the school has an incorrect address for him, he can contact the school and correct it.

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