When your child is returned back to you after timesharing (aka visitation) with Parent B and tells Parent A they were not fed by Parent B should you be shocked?  My answer is no and this blog will inform you as to why.  

 

To make an honest assessment about this issue, ask yourself these questions if see if you have asked the following questions after the child returns after their visitation with Parent B:  1.) Grilling them about what they did; 2). What did they eat; and 3). Who else was there? If you have done this, you are wrong? Why, because Parent B has the absolute right to do whatever they want to do with the child during their timesharing without you probing into the visit as long as it does not change the status quo and the child’s welfare and safety are not at risk.  The only communication with your child after the visits should be, I am so happy to see you again and leave it at that. Why, because when you begin probing your child, you are putting your child in the middle of a potential conflict between Parent A and Parent B. If you ask the child, “did you have a good time with Parent B”, “what do you have to eat for breakfast, dinner or lunch”, or “was Parent B’s ‘friend’” was around”, what do you expect the child to say without making you feel bad?  Would you rather that child say, “Parent B is the best because we have so much fun, is the best cook ever, and the new “friend” is awesome? All of these probing questions put the child in a position to please you and tell you whatever you want to hear. The presumption should be is that Parent B (or A for that matter) can reasonably take care of the minor child while in their care. Now, if something occurred that affects child safety and welfare, be confident the child or the other Parent will let you know. 

 

You may say you have the right to ask your child questions about the visit with Parent B, but why not ask Parent B directly if you are at all curious about what they did during their timesharing.  That way, you keep your child out of the middle and nothing gets lost in translation or misconstrued because the child feels like she wants to please you. Oftentimes, when a child is placed in the middle and gives an answer the other parent “wants to hear”, the information is used against Parent B. Parent B is confronted by Parent A and is surprised about the information the child told parent A which usually ends in a dispute between the parents.  Usually, this information may be used to drive a wedge between the minor child and Parent B.  

 

If you have legitimate concerns about the health and safety of the child after they return from a visit, by all means, address it with the other Parent.  Don’t probe the child, instead, inform the other parent of your observations after the child returns from a visit and have a discussion about your concerns.  Perhaps the other parent can provide some insight into your observations that you can resolve together as successful co-parents.

 

If you need more information about this blog or about your Albuquerque custody and visitation in Albuquerque or throughout the state of New Mexico, contact me at 1-800-DIVORCE or you can go to www.genuslawgrp.com for more information on this topic.



 
Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Estate Planning Lawyer Serving ABQ and Beyond
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