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Jeanne M. Hannah

Slippery slope indeed. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Troxel v Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), rights of visitation or custody for third parties (anyone other than a biological parent) are limited to those created by statute. Statutory rights for grandparents are quite limited. Should we create rights for a live-in BF or GF? I don't think so. There is always that issue of "permanency." Will that relationship last?

However, where the service member is leaving a step-mom or step-dad behind upon being deployed, especially if there are step-siblings from whom the child or children would be separated, I believe that a court should be willing to look at the issue of whether the deployed party should be able to designate his custodial or parenting time rights to his/her spouse.

When something gets in the way of that . . . it's usually the green-eyed monster (jealousy)or the issue of money . . . IMHO.

Andrea Isrow

Ah, the slippery slope. What happens when it's not a remarriage but a live-in relationship? How 'bout a roommate? I am the step-mom in a relationship just like this one, and even so, as a lawyer it causes me a twinge of concern. Guess there's just a "wait and see" here.


My husband has full custody of his 13-year son and has had full custody since his divorce in 1998. With the events of 9/11, he was activated for military service at the air force base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, working the third shift. During this time he had his son enrolled in daycare, but the cost was prohibitive, and through mutal agreement (not court order or a modification of the original custody documents), he moved his son into the biological mother's care, where he has been for the last 8 years, and paid her an agreed upon amount every month (again, not by court order but by mutal agreement).

Since he began living with his mom, either my husband or I have made arrangements to pick up his son and he comes for a visit every other weekend, provided his mom's schedule and his extracircular activity schedule provide for it. My husband pays for his extracircular activites, school clothes, supplies, etc. And, he provides extra money whenever he is asked.

After the first deployment ended my husband did not want to move the child away from the school he was going to and his stepsisters, so he continued to live with his mother.

My husband deployed again in 2008 and his son stayed with his mother while I visited him approximately twice a month, driving over 100 miles one way to see him and make sure he was okay during the deployment. However, over the last couple of years his sons grades have fallen and he's not reaching a level of maturity that is equivalent to his age. And, his son has recently expressed an interest in moving back with his father and me (his stepmom). Unfortunately, my husand recently deployed and now the mother does not want the child living with me because I am not a biological parent.

We've have been talking to the son about coming to live with us is due to the fact that his grades are extremely poor - D's and E's, and have been that way for the last two to three years - and I would be able to provide him with a greater amount of attention while his father is deployed, and he would have more opportunities to speak with his father during the deployment.

Given that custody of the child has never changed, but the mother does not want to willingly let the child live in his father's home during the deployment, do I have any recourse whatsoever? Other than poor grades and his lack of maturity and his lack of social adeptness, I do not think the boy's mother is unfit, just not giving him the one-on-one attention he needs and, I believe, craves.

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