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Joint Custody - Non-Custodial Parental Decisions

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  • Joint Custody - Non-Custodial Parental Decisions

    Hi:

    I have joint custody of our 9 and 12 year old sons with my ex-husband. I am the custodial parent. We live in CT, USA. Since our divorce three years ago, he has made some, what I consider to be, real bad decisions while the kids are with him during visitation. The most recent being taking both of them to see the movie "300", an "R" rated blood and guts cartoonish adaptation of a historical event.

    Our nine year old already has issues/problems with resorting to physical violence when he gets angry. My husband (the boys' stepfather) and I have raised serious concern with my ex-husband over this and many other issues concerning his parental responsibilities and lack thereof. We get nowhere. He states he brought them to see 300 for "a history lesson." Another example is he allows them to play "Halo" and "Grand Theft Auto" (both rated "M" for mature) while they are at his house for visitation. I really am questioning his parental judgement and would like to know if I have any true recourse or would it be a losing battle - please don't say "talk to a lawyer" or "you might have recourse." There's got to be something concrete I can do without spending money on a lawyer and still have the potential of having the judge say there's nothing wrong with what he's doing. I hate seeing my kids continue to be corrupted! I'll get a lawyer if I'm sure I'm on solid ground. Please help!

  • #2
    Re: Joint Custody - Non-Custodial Parental Decisions

    I hate to tell you, but when my ex husband and I were in court, he was trying to control the smallest thing such as me taking our child to a fourth of July barbeque, and the judge told him in no uncertain terms, "When you have your son, you control what happens. When she has your son, she controls what happens. Period. No controlling the other parent." It seems as though judges have some fantasized ideal of the parents sitting down over coffee discussing the details of their children's raising, and obviously if we could do that, we probably wouldn't be divorced, right? The best thing I can tell you to do, that another parent I know has done, is take the child to a psychologist, or even the school counselor, and have some documentation that the violent movies and/or games he is being subjected to at his father's is causing adverse behavior, then taking that to a judge and having a judge order some sort of behavior modification on the part of the father, but even that doesn't work all the time. And, also, a lot of the time, when the other parent is rebuked, they will rebel like a child themselves and try to become the "cool" parent by encouraging their child ("hyping" them up for the big, bad movie), then taking them and acting like it's a big treat. In the end, however, psychologists have shown the child will usually prefer to be with the parent who has a structured, disciplined household. That's a hard thing to swallow, but that's what I'm having to do while my ex is the "cool" parent. In the end, children subconsciously crave discipline and structure....the most you can do is attempt a judge to intervene if your son's behavior becomes that extreme, or just continue on your course of discipline and remain firm...do not let his father's behavior sway your course.
    Some things have to be agreed upon, educational and medical, specifically. For instance, my ex attempted to "tell" me our son was going to private school and "I was going to pay for half." Since the public schools in our area are among the top in the nation, I refused and a judge had to step in and "convince" his father that a private school was an extraneous expense and if he chose to push the issue, he would have to support the entire financial burden (he dropped that argument FAST!). Wish I could help, but man, this stuff is tricky sometimes!

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    • #3
      Re: Joint Custody - Non-Custodial Parental Decisions

      Those are goods suggestions, that frankly apply in a similar situation in my family.

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