Mom calls the shots in visitation.


            Posted on Nov 4,2007   

            Mom should call the shots in visitation debate.

Q. I've been divorced about a year. Our agreement says my ex gets reasonable visitation with our 8-year-old daughter, Tricia.

During our marriage he spent little time with Tricia and since then he's invested two hours a week with her. Now he wants to introduce her to his girlfriend, Mary.

Tricia wants nothing to do with it. She doesn't even want to see him anymore.

Does Tricia have any rights?

L.D., Mashpee

A.  Here's what's going on. Tricia has no right to decide if she'll go on visitation. Those are parent decisions. But she also knows her dad is spending more time with Mary than with her, which makes Tricia jealous and angry. Also, Tricia thinks she'd be disloyal to you if she agreed to meet Mary.

Ask your ex to spend much more time with Tricia and hold off any introduction until he moves in with or marries Mary.

Meanwhile, you need to do three things to protect yourself in case your ex files a complaint for contempt. 1) Keep a diary of everything that is said and by whom. 2) Get Tricia into counseling. 3) Get dad to agree in writing he won't introduce Mary to Tricia until you two agree.

If dad files, move the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to talk with Tricia' counselor and read your diary. That'll prove you offered reasonable visitation.