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While courts are still biased toward women when it comes to assigning parenting time, they don’t waste any time cracking down on judges who take the law into their own hands.
In September, the New Jersey Supreme Court dismissed Passaic County Superior Court judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi after she lied to police so a friend could have her daughter on Mother’s Day. Last month, the New Jersey State House Commission voted to take away DeAvila-Silebi’s state pension as well.
The judge’s problems are tied to an incident in 2015 when she helped a friend and former court intern see her son on Mother’s Day. DeAvila-Silebi called the police and said the boy’s father was refusing to comply with a court order giving the mother parenting time on the holiday. No order existed. She also falsely told the authorities she was the presiding judge on the case.
In the end, DeAvila-Silebi lost her position – and her pension – due to persistent attempts to lie and conceal her bad behavior. The Supreme Court sacked the disgraced judge because she misused her position, but also because she falsified phone records and lied under oath to cover up her misconduct.
The situation is especially bizarre as a judge would understand the legal remedies available to the mother involved. The situation also speaks to the desperation parents sometimes face around the holidays and when there are gaps in parenting plans.
When Changes Are Needed to Your Parenting Plan
Upsets over Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are surprisingly common. Lawyers and mediators sometimes skip over these holidays when helping clients create a parenting plan. Most couples simply agree to swap or sacrifice so the kids can spend the days with the respective parent.
Unfortunately, relying on your former partner’s goodwill is an excellent way to wind up disappointed.
There are several different ways to officially change a parenting plan in order to correct the oversight, and it’s worth it to prevent years of contention. The best method depends on the provisions in your custody order. In some cases, parents don’t even need to hire a lawyer to file a request to modify their agreement. In others, especially if your ex likes to fight you on everything, you’ll need a lawyer to work through the process.
Learn more about navigating holiday disagreements and other common custody pitfalls in They’re Your Kids Too: The Single Father’s Guide to Defending Your Fatherhood in a Broken Family Law System by fathers’ rights attorney Anne P. Mitchell.