I have joint legal custody of my 11-year-old son, with my ex-husband. The children live at my house with me. After the divorce was finalized I required the need of a babysitter to pick up my children at school twice a week and babysit for several hours. I contacted my ex-husband explaining him the situation and explained all about the babysitter, name, family she was a nanny for previously and contact information. He then proceeded to contact the school prohibiting the babysitter from picking up the children. He is demanding that he first able to meet and approve the babysitter before she picks up the children from school. Does he have the right to make these demands? As the custodial parent don’t I have the right to just say who picks up my children and who does not?
I believe you’re getting confused between joint legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody only pertains to where the child lives the majority of the time, but legal custody refers to who gets to make legal decisions and important decisions that pertain to the child’s life. In this situation you’re talking about having someone who is outside the family, who is not known to the family, have direct contact with your children while no supervision is provided. In this situation the father certainly does have the legal right to meet and decide if this babysitter to come into contact with the children. Obviously if he is denying all babysitters access to the children, simply to make your life difficult, the courts will take that into consideration. Also, he must provide reasonable facts if you would be to deny this person access to your children. But if for some reason he can demonstrate that the babysitter would pose a danger to the children, then he has the right to deny access of the babysitter to the children. Just remember being a custodial parent does not give you all rights to decide anything about the child while they are in your custody, and the fact you have joint legal custody means that your ex-husband gets to make all important decisions in the children’s lives, such as this one.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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