Questions and Answers

In a shared custody situation, does the law require either of us to inform the other of who is living in the house?

If my ex-wife moves in with a boyfriend or I with a girlfriend, does that have to be disclosed to anyone? As long as the address is given, is that enough?

ANSWER

Informing the other parent of who lives with you it is not “required” by law; HOWEVER, it is important to do so if you have shared custody of the child. When Courts award shared custody, the Judge needs to know that each parent can cooperate and communicate with the other to reach shared decisions about the child’s welfare. This the basis for having joint legal custody.

Shared physical custody means that the child spends at least 128 overnights each year at both houses. When a child “lives” with both parents the parents need to cooperate and communicate to make sure that both parents know what is going on in the child’s life. Each parent must inform the other if the child was up all night throwing up or hurt himself playing outside. Likewise, the other parent should know who is living with the child on a daily basis. Ideally, each parent would have a chance to meet the child’s roommate, even if it was the other parent’s new boy/girlfriend.

To keep this information from the other parent puts the child in the middle of the conflict by requiring the child to keep a secret. If the parents cannot do this, then perhaps shared custody isn’t appropriate for the family and, if there was a custody modification case, the parent who refuses to disclose this type of information would not look good in the eyes of the Judge.

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