Roomie may curtail visitation


            Posted on Nov 12,2006   

            Roomie may curtail visitation

Q.   My ex-wife claims she doesn't have to let me see my kids because the person I now live with is "unsuitable."  Is that legal?

Z.T., Malden

A. The answer is a definite maybe. If your new squeeze is a convicted sex offender, drug addict or active alcoholic, then no judge is going to force your kids to go to your home. But, if you agree to have no one else there during your visitation or not to bring the kids to your home, you can enforce visitation.

If your ex-wife is just upset because you have a new girlfriend, then you'll get your visitation. Here's how:  For starters, if you haven't already, file a complaint for modification to get visitation again. File a complaint for contempt against your ex-wife, claiming she violated the court order that provides you with visitation. (You do have a court order, right? If not, then you first have to file a complaint for modification to get visitation.)                

Either way, when you go to court, you'll be sent to the probation office to meet with a family service officer who will quickly sort out what's going on, and why. If you don't agree at that point, you'll go into the court room, where you can each make your pitch to the judge.

If things are really messy, the judge will probably appoint a Guardian Ad Litem, who will be ordered to do an investigation.                

The GAL talks with all the relevant people, writes up a report and sends it to the court. Then you all go back to court on a motion or for trial.  The open secret: GAL recommendations are accepted more than 95% of the time. So, once the GAL makes the report, you should think seriously about settling along those lines.