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Can I object to the state of the other parent's home?

It's not always easy to let your child's other parent exercise his or her rights as a parent, especially if you don't approve of his or her style of parenting. This is exceptionally true when a child is still an infant and considerably more vulnerable than older children. For many parents, this conflict arises around the safety and security of the place where the child stays when visiting the other parent.

Consider this relatively common scenario. A young mother retains primary custody of a young child, but the father enjoys custody on weekends. The father lives in a very small, poorly-kept apartment, and when the child stays with the father, the mother worries about the conditions of the apartment and the safety of the child staying there. Does the father need to improve his housing situation to continue enjoying his custody rights? Can the mother object to the custody on the grounds of unsafe or undesirable housing?

This is a tricky area. If you have legitimate safety concerns, it is possible that you can take them to the court, but you must do so very carefully. In many cases, a judge may see this as meddling with the rights of the other parent, and may actually penalize you for attempting to interfere with the court order. Even if you object to the state of the other parent's home, if it falls within the guidelines outlined in the custody order, it is probably allowable, legally speaking.

Before you take the matter to a court, consider consulting with an experienced attorney. With proper guidance, you can assess your choices and create a plan to defend your rights and the safety of the child you love.

Source: Findlaw, "Custody or Visitation Interference," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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