Our office remains open, and in response to COVID-19 we have expanded our options for remote consultations and virtual meetings. Please contact our office to discuss what meeting option best fits your situation.

Family Solutions.


Can Sacramento Parents Delegate Child Custody Responsibilities to Significant Others?

When Sacramento divorcees and former partners allow new significant others to watch the children it can be a source of strife and child custody litigation. Sometimes the underlying issue is the ex-spouse or ex-partner’s jealousy over the new significant other’s potential to befriend the children, and other times it is legitimate concern that the significant other poses a threat to the child’s health, safety or welfare.

While it is common to ask significant others to watch your children, it is important in any Sacramento child custody case that each parent spend as much actual time with their child as possible. When a parent that consistently leaves the child in the care of a significant other, family member, or friend for significant lengths of time, there is a risk that they will lose parenting time in a Sacramento child custody battle. The other parent can argue that the absent parent is not truly prioritizing parenting time with the child, or even abandoning the child. Worse still, if the child is a pre-teen or teenager, the child could ask the other parent, Sacrament custody mediator, or the Sacramento child custody court to change the parenting arrangement because of boredom or unhappiness over being left in the care of others.

Sacramento courts can resolve these arguments by ordering a right of first refusal. A parent who is unable to exercise direct responsibility for the child for a certain number of hours must first call the other parent and offer them the chance to take custody of the child. If that parent is unable to accept custody, then the asking parent can seek help from a significant other or family member. This is an imperfect solution because manipulative parents can abuse the provision. Also, if one parent is consistently placing the children in the other parent’s care, that parent may decide to ask the Sacramento child custody court to modify custody to reflect all the extra time they are taking with the child.

If you are involved in a Sacramento County child custody case, and you believe you need to modify child custody or obtain a right of first refusal, please give us a call at 916-304-5691, or send us an email. We can meet with you and discuss the Sacramento County child custody process in a free half-hour attorney consultation.