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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 05-06-2010, 12:15 AM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Default Urgent request for Defining joint custody and care and control

Hello, without going into depth. can anyone explain more clearly what the implications are for joint custody versus care and control. Like most court orders, my court order is not very clear on this issue and my ex is interpreting in his own manner.

Been in and out of court for 12 years. Always had joint custody written into the order, although at one point we also had shared custody meaning the children resided with each of us week on, week off. In 2005, the courts awarded after a lengthy assessment review, that the children could and should move with me to a new community 1 hour away and reside with me on a full time basis. I was therefore awarded care and control on a daily basis, but the joint custody clause remained in reference to major decisions affecting the children: dental, medical, education, religion and yes consent required for counseling. Dad's access was outlined as every other weekend, 2 weeks in the summer, mid week visit from after school to 8 pm with 48 hours notice and equal sharing of holidays like Christmas.

After 5 years, he has begun to utilize his access to mid week visits with notice. That is not a problem. However, his current wife is now also working int eh area and is showing up at the school unannounced and without notice wanting to take my daughter out to lunch. First, my understanding is that our court order is between the parents and step parents have about as much rights as that of a grandparent. More importantly, though, they both are refusing to give notice. Dad's position is that joint custody means equal access.

If this were an amicable agreement, I would not mind. However, step mom did the same thing 2 years ago, taking my son out of school,calling him weekly ( not dad calling only, step mom) and never asking to speak to the other kids, only my son. Subsequently, my son was cooerced to go and live with Dad and step mom and is refusing any contact with me. So I need to be clear about the definitions surrounding joint custody and care and control. I disagree that Dad or his wife can show up at the school without notice and take my daughter out to lunch. I am quite worried that he will drag this issue back to court saying I am in contempt of the order.

Clarity please?? I need some ground to stand on.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
mid week visit from after school to 8 pm with 48 hours notice
There's your ground. They are not allowed to simply remove the children from the school without notice. If the school is allowing the stepmom

(technically they cannot stop the father from dropping in and taking the child to lunch, though they can stall him and contact you for permission) I would call the principal and proceed to tear a strip down one side of him and up the other. That doesn't work, locate the person highest up the food chain you can for your district and do the same thing with them.

Stepmom, grandparent's, etc have NO right to remove the children from school. Make sure the school has a copy of the court order on file with the kids records, make sure YOU are the primary contact person and make sure the school is advised that during the week, anyone wanting to remove the children from the premises needs YOUR say so to do so.

The schooling/etc would fall under the day to day care, which is what care and control covers already. Joint parenting is for major decisions as you have already outlined.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:31 AM
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^ What he says.

Joint custody with regards to school and medical issues doesn't mean all that much. If you wanted to pull the kid from school and homeschool him, the dad would have a say in that. If the school board wanted to place the kid in special ed classes, the dad would also have to sign the forms. If you couldn't agree, you would go to arbitration.

As far as medical issues go, emergency medical care doesn't need consent. Anything that is life-threatening, or to prevent long term disability is necessary, you don't need his consent to get a cast put on a broken arm. You don't need his consent for checkup at the family doctor (falls under ordinary day-to-day care.) You do need his consent for anything elective, for example getting tonsils out, or getting braces.

These things aren't spelled out in legislation in Ontario, it depends on common law and case law, and even a divorce lawyer can't give you an exhaustive instruction list. I know this because my ex is a pain in the butt about this stuff too, and I've tried to narrow it down myself. She called me to complain once that I didn't consult her when I got my son a haircut.

The main part of your question, joint custody (guardianship) doesn't have anything to do with access. His access is spelled out in your court order. The step-mother has NO rights here. You have compared her to a grandparent, yes, you could also compare her to the 13 year old neighbour you hire babysit once a week. When the child is in her care, she can set mealtimes and bedtimes without your interference. That's all.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:21 AM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Thanks, that is what I have been saying. Technically, in my opinion, Dad cannot stop into the school without permission either. I did call the school and did take a strip off them. They are now no longer allowing anyone to take her out of school without my permission first. They have a copy of the court order, however, my ex keeps calling the school and harrassing them, sending me emails stating "i must remove the restrictions placed at the school".
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:53 AM
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Unfortunately you can't fix stupid. You are under no obligation to remove any restrictions at the school, as they fall under what the court document covers already.

If he is harassing the school, that's their issue. They can deal with him, and push comes to shove and he tries to take it to a court action, it's just going to bite him in the butt.

He's trying to draw you into a debate, don't bite. Hell, I wouldn't even bother to acknowledge those emails. (Just file them away, my ex has her own folder in my in box for all that crap).

They may come in handy some day, they may not. (Had to pull out a whole bunch of my own just recently to rebut yet another idiotic attempt from my own ex)
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susiecanoe View Post
Thanks, that is what I have been saying. Technically, in my opinion, Dad cannot stop into the school without permission either.
That is not correct. As a parent, one who has been provided with joint custody, he is entitled to be able to be involved in the 3 major parts of the childrens lives. 1. medical 2. religion and 3. education.

Part of being involved in education is the ability to speak to teachers, observe the child at school, receive notices from the school including report cards. He is also entitled to be reflected as a parent on school records, thus providing him all the same rights the custodial parent would have with the ability to attend the school and sign the child out.

Now, he shouldn't sign the child out without first informing you in accordance with the agreement.

Care and Control only has to do with who has custody of the child. The parent with custody has the right to make all day to day decisions for the child, while the child is in there "care and control". So this means if you want to get the childs hair cut or take them out or allow them to sleep over at a friends. You are also allowed to make emergency medical decisions, then advice your ex as soon as reasonably possible.

[edit - deleted part as I now see what your issue with her removing the child....must have missed that paragraph....sorry]

Yes, she should not be signing out the child. And the school was wrong to allow it. However, the dad is entitled to be involved in the childs education, whether that be observing in school or chaperoning school activities, just as you would be allowed.

Hell, my ex has sole custody and I am still permitted to attend the school and sign out my daughter. The ex didn't list me as a parent with the school or list me as an authorized pickup person. All I had to do was bring in a copy of my agreement reflecting that I am a parent and they changed their records and now send me copies of all documents (reports etc) and advise me of parent teach meetings and observation days.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:50 PM
susiecanoe susiecanoe is offline
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Thanks! For once, I actually did not respond to his emails. I just filed them away.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:35 PM
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The only kicker I see is that she has care and control, and he's bound by the court order to provide her with 48 hours notice before exercising access.

Without that clause, then no, DAD can remove the child at will from the school for lunches/etc. STEPMOM on the other hand cannot. (unless she is listed as a authorized person to do so). Most schools have an emergency contact form, if you appear on it, you're assumed to be allowed to have access to the child.

That 48 hour clause is what makes the Dad removing the child a grey area.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post
That 48 hour clause is what makes the Dad removing the child a grey area.
Removing, yes. Attending and observing, no.

Stepmom has no rights really. But if dad attends school to observe, or removes the child in accordance with the agreement, she is entitled to be there with him.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:22 PM
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What is the view of your daughter with either one of them picking her up unannounced for lunch?
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