Can Sacramento Parents Delegate Child-Watching Responsibilities to Significant Others?

by | Aug 23, 2013 | Firm News |

A common source of strife between Sacramento divorcees and former partners is when one partner allows their new significant other to care for the child.  Many a custody case has been litigated over this issue.  Sometimes the underlying issue is the ex-spouse’s jealousy over the new significant other, and other times it is legitimate concern for the child’s well-being.

Regardless, it is important that in any Sacramento child custody case that each parent spend as much actual time with their child as possible under the court order.  Any parent that consistently leaves the child in the care of a significant other, family member, or friend, will run the risk of losing parenting time in a Sacramento child custody battle.  On the other hand, occasional usage of another person to care for the child should not affect a custody arrangement.

One way courts resolve disputes like this is to implement a right of first refusal.  The way it works is when a parent has parenting time, but is unable to exercise direct responsibility for the child, and this period of absence exceeds a set number of hours, that parent must first call the other parent and offer them the chance to take custody of the child.  If that parent is unable to accept custody, then the asking parent can seek help from a significant other or family member.  The problem with this solution is that manipulative parents will abuse the provision.  Also, if one parent is consistently placing the children in the other parent’s care, that parent may end up filing a motion to modify custody to reflect all the extra time they are taking with the child.

If you are involved in a Sacramento County child custody case, and you believe you need to investigate obtaining a right of first refusal, please give us a call.  We can meet with you and discuss the Sacramento County child custody process in a free half-hour attorney consultation.