Custody Order Issues HELP!

Whitney - posted on 11/30/2015 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Hello, I'm in need of some advice on what I should do about moving in with my fiancé/soon to be husband.

So my custody order states "nobody you are in a romantic relationship or dating can be around your child".. As you can imagine this clause has made it almost impossible to have a relationship but thankfully I met a guy who understood and worked with me. We have been together for 2 1/2 years and are planning on getting married soon and we have a beautiful newborn baby girl together. So thus far I have been living separately from my fiancé with our newborn baby and my 4 year old daughter from a previous marriage. I have 50/50 custody of my 4 year old daughter and her father makes it his life goal to make my life hell.. He does not like my fiancé and refuses to let our daughter around him.. So I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.. My custody order says I can't have anyone I'm dating around my 4 year old but we are getting married and we have a child together.. Is it possible to never be able to live full time with my soon to be husband because of that clause in our custody order? My fiancé just bought us a 3 bedroom house that's still in the same county as my ex and close to the school where my 4 year old attends. Does the clause get voided if I get married? Please someone help.. I'm at a loss of what to do..

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Sarah - posted on 11/30/2015

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It boggles my mind that you would be in a relationship, become engaged, have a child and buy a home without trying to change your custody order! In 20 minutes of internet research I found the same statutes that Raye sites.
How has it even been possible to develop a full relationship if your future husband has not spent extensive time with your child. If you had remained platonic, then would the order be different and he could be around her 24/7? I am baffled as to why it has not been addressed by you before now?

Raye - posted on 11/30/2015

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I assume the same clause would apply to your ex as well? How does he manage to not have romantic partners around your child?

Usually those type of orders specify that a parent not have their romantic partners sleeping over or cohabitating, and does not prohibit ALL contact with unmarried companions. VA must be more strict to include any exposure to a romantic partner. I understand that some courts would want the child's life to be as stable as possible. And I agree that having your kids around unstable relationships can affect them in a negative way, as kids can get attached to a parent's romantic partners, only to have them leave and cause emotional turmoil for everyone. But when it's proven to be a stable relationship and nurturing environment, then those circumstances should be considered.

Apparently, in VA, there WAS a criminal statute (Virginia Code 18.2-345) that prohibited cohabitation. In 2013, the General Assembly repealed it. For family law practitioners, this means that a household including a parent choosing to cohabitate may not be, and should not be, automatically ruled out as a child’s residence. It will be still up to the judge to rule in the best interests of the child whether the cohabitating household is a good environment for the child. While this is all well and good, it doesn't cover the entirety of your orders that specify not having the child around your romantic partner AT ALL.

BUT, in Virginia, if you have a change of circumstance (marriage) you can file to have your custody order modified. "Positive changes in the life of a parent, such as remarriage, creation of a stable home environment, and increased ability to provide emotional and financial support for the child", should be cause to have the orders modified.

I am not a lawyer, and you should really speak to one familiar with these circumstances in your state to make sure you have the best chance at getting your custody orders modified. I hope someday soon you can begin to have a "normal" complete family with your child, your fiancé/husband and your new little baby.

MaryAnn - posted on 11/30/2015

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See a lawyer and go to court. Check the wording and definitions... I would think that having a child together would change the relationship from "romantic" or "dating" to family. No custody order should be written with the intention of preventing anyone from progressing their lives in a natural way. Unless there are serious problems with your fiance, and it doesnt sound like there are, I dont see any court forbidding you to live with your childs father.

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Sarah - posted on 11/30/2015

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I agree that mediation is preferable to court. However, to wait 2.5 years with an unwilling ex-partner is not reasonable for you, your new partner, your new baby nor your first child.

MaryAnn - posted on 11/30/2015

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Mediation is lovely. Its preferable, but in a situation where he is unwilling to allow you to live with your fiance, with whom you have bought a house and had a child, it is not going to work. Your ex is acting unreasonably about this decision, and you do not need to fear court. A child whonis NOT HIS is being brought into this situation and suffering for it.

Whitney - posted on 11/30/2015

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It has been addressed and I wanted to resolve this through mediation but my ex is unwilling to compromise. I didn't want to go to court and have the judge completely change our order.. From my understanding if you go to court to modify custody then the judge can change the custody order how he or she seems fit. I would like to get full custody because my daughter would rather be with me than at her dads house. Plus he and his mother smokes around my daughter and it causes her to have respiratory issues..

As far as my fiancé being around my daughter (he has) I didn't think it was resonable to never have him around her... I mean how are you supposed to get married to someone if you don't know how they are with your child..? You can't.

Also the clause should be for both of us and it is but he doesn't follow it.. He tries to control what I do but does the complete opposite himself..

Dove - posted on 11/30/2015

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Ask your lawyer. It should be able to be voided once you are married. I've never heard of a clause where the child can't EVER be introduced to your next partner.. only clauses about not living together prior to marriage.

Whitney - posted on 11/30/2015

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That clause is in every custody order in Virginia that I've seen. I know several people who have that clause and live with their new spouses but their ex's aren't like mine..

Raye - posted on 11/30/2015

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You need to go back to court to get that changed. I don't know why that would have even been in the orders to begin with, unless you were making irresponsible choices with romantic partners, or you signed off on it without reading it or understanding what it might mean. If you are in a steady relationship and getting married, there's no reason to exclude your partner from knowing your child. Go to court, and get it changed.

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