Care, custody and control of the children

Care, custody and control of the children.  By MJ Goodwin

Many Family Court Orders, both temporary order and final orders, have provisions providing for the “care, custody and control” of the minor children.  What does this mean?  How much control is afforded the custodial parent over the visiting parent’s time with the children?

These issues arise when a visiting parent wants to do something with the children that the custodial parent does not like.  For example, a vacation to a specific destination, contact with someone whom the custodial parents disapproves of, or allowing the minor child to participate in a particular church.  “Control” in these court orders does not mean 24/7 lock down of the child’s life.  It means that the child goes to school where the custodial parents chooses and that major decisions regarding the child are left to the custodial parent.   Unless there is a specific court order prohibiting certain conduct by the visiting parent, the custodial parent does not control the conditions of visitation due to the language in these Family Court orders.  The visiting parent may use the time with the children to travel or to see people that the custodial parent does not like.

A healthy relationship between bickering and warring parents is difficult to achieve during or after bitter, expensive, hurtful Family Court litigation.  Yet, the best thing a parent can do for their children is to get along with the other parent.  To do so requires a level of emotional maturity and common sense.  It also requires a high degree of self control.  A good attorney will counsel a Family Law client to conduct him or her self appropriately with regard to the other parent.

If you have questions regarding what you can and cannot control as a custodial parent or if you are being unfairly limited by a custodial parent, contact me for a consultation.  You may reach me by email at

Never go to Family Court without an experienced lawyer!



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