Legal Question in Family Law in California

I have a court ordered custody agreement that states my son is with his father on Saturdays for 10 hours. He verbally canceled several weekends that I wrote down and up until now he has not shown up to the canceled dates. One of the dates that he has canceled was in June, the weekend after my sons birthday. I decided to plan my sons birthday party on that day (the venue is paid for, invites already sent out) as soon as his dad found out about it he wanted the day back saying I have no proof he canceled. There is also a clause in our order saying that days will be switched for family events (trading a Saturday for a sunday). He is refusing any other day and said that if I do not give him our son on that day he will report the "proper authorities." Is there anything I can do?

Asked on 5/24/13, 8:44 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Phillip D. Wheeler, Esq. Phillip D. Wheeler, Attorney At Law

The document speaks for itself. Take your husband to court. A court ordered document may not be changed without the court's approval. Your ex-husband does not know the law and even if he reports you to the authorities, they will read the document itself which states that you have a court ordered custody agreement that states my son is with his father on Saturdays for 10 hours.

If this ever went to court, you can rely on the "promissory estoppel" theory in law. In other words, you RELIED on your ex-husbands verbal agreement and he broke that verbal agreement and since you RELIED on his verbal agreement, he may be ESTOPPED from changing his mind now. You detrimentally relied on his promise and now he can't change his mind.

This is just my opinion. If anything happens differently, obtain an attorney and take your ex to court. Mention the birthday party you planned and how you relied on your husbands change of conditions from the original court ordered agreement and how our ex-husbands irresponsibility is going to keep your child from having a great party. After all, isn't it all about the child's happiness? Custody agreements are not formed to punish parents (at least they shouldn't be) but instead, they are meant to pursue the well-being and happiness of the child.

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Answered on 5/25/13, 8:02 am

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