Grandparents & custody question

I am divorced three years now. We had joint custody 65 (me)/35 (their Dad). I was granted full custody of both of our kids (10 & 12) in February of this year, 2023, for a year due to their Dad not showing up in court twice on a DVPO order. I had to get the DVPO order because their dad suffered a psychotic break due to mental illness & showed up at our door early in the morning scary & threatening. The mental illness had been happening for some time we believe. There is a grey area in the order where it says “pending defendant gets mental health treatment & can show mental stability.” My question is his parents would like to take our children to Florida— as they do every year, for two weeks after school is out where they live- they usually do a week at surf camp & a week at VBS. I do not want to keep our children away from their grandparents or their dad. But I do want to follow this order because I think it’s very important that it stay in place in order to protect our kids at least until their Dad is truly in a place of mental stability. Their dad supposedly now lives in Florida, too, but in a totally different town than his parents. He has not been in communication with me, but twice since January & it was evident in the phone calls he was not stable yet. To my knowledge, he has not proven to the court that he has mental stability. What should I do when it comes to the grandparents? Should I allow my children to go with their grandparents to another state? What do I need to put in place to make sure that they are safe when they’re with their grandparents? What do you suggest?
Thank you in advance.

Assuming sending the children for two weeks with their grandparents does not interfere with any court ordered visitation that Dad is allowed, then it would be up to you whether or not to send the children. Generally you can do with the children as you see best for them during your custodial time.

Without having the benefit of reading your full court order, it sounds like the language you provided saying “pending Defendant gets mental health treatment,…” is regarding whether Dad gets additional or more custodial time or whether/when the court order should be modified, etc. and not having anything to do with the grandparents, which is essentially a childcare/summer camp situation.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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