Q:
if the child’s father has visitation but his wife shows up do I have to give my child to the wife even if the order is between me and her father?

A:
Hi, and thank you for your question.

Parents often send a relative to retrieve the child for parenting time. We all run late or have something unexpected come up here and there. If there is no specific concern with his wife (ie safety or ability to operate a car properly), then I would suggest that you should certainly work with him and allow his wife to retrieve the child for parenting time. Particularly here, where this is his spouse, and not a random friend or girlfriend, the permanent nature of the relationship should influence your decision in a positive way (or at least, it would for the Court). I am sure that you will also have times when you may need assistance with pick up or drop off. You want him to reciprocate.

I say this only assuming that when the child arrives at dad’s house, he or she is spending time with his/her father and not with the stepmother alone for an extended period of time. Parenting time is father’s chance to spend time with his kids, but also time for his family to spend time with his kids. Therefore, sometimes parents have their kids spend time with aunts and uncles, their spouse and family members during their parenting time. This is okay so long as dad is also spending time with the kids regularly.

If you have more specific questions, or seek advice regarding contempt or modification, feel free to call.

Thank you,
Christine G. DeBernardis, Esq.