Custody question


#1

If a friend of mine has custody of her 5 yr old son, and has had custody for 3 yrs now since the divorce, etc. and is a AWESOME mom. Well she was convicted of a non violent crime, and was sentenced to do jail time only on weekends, if she can go ahead and get this behind her she will be DONE with it all. But her main concern is, can this cause custody issues b/t her and her ex husband. She is doing the time on the weekends her son is with his dad, so it doesn’t effect time with her son. So, is there any kind of legal action he can take against her to try to take her son away, or will she be ok?

And if something has to be scheduled on a weekend she has her son, and she has a sitter for him, and proper care, can he do anything about this?


#2

If she has court ordered custody, the other parent would need to file for modification of custody on the grounds that there has been a change of lifestyle. Normally, that means remarriage, relocation, change of income or ability to care for the child…
If there is no court order and she simply has custody by agreement, then the other parent can file for custody and they would go through mediation and have it heard by the court as though there was not a previous arrangement.
If the other parent was interested enough in gaining custody, I’m sure that grounds could be found with this. I think the weight the conviction would hold would depend on what it was for, how long the jail time is to be served, and how the judge views it.
I suggest that if the other parent knows about this arrangement, she may consider offering the extra time to him first. If he does not know about it, she should consider telling him. Though I would normally say that what happens on her own time is her own business, if the ex finds out and she doesn’t tell him, he could be very vindictive…and this does affect the child to some extent.


#3

Stepmother is correct. If the custody arrangement is by agreement, he can file an initial action seeking custody, if the schedule is in an order her husband would have to prove that her criminal conviction constitutes a substantial change in circumstances which affect the best interests of the child. It really depends on the type of crime she was convicted of as to whether he has a chance at gaining custody. For example a drug offense would not bode well for her, an accumulated parking tickets would be less of an issue.
Depending on what the current order says she may be obligated to give her ex a “right of first refusal” which means she must offer him the time with the child when she cannot care for him before she obtains a sitter.