Children of divorced parent - two wards

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cwhiting-p40
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Children of divorced parent - two wards

Postby cwhiting-p40 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:27 pm

What is the policy concerning records for children where the parents are divorced and live in different stakes & wards and they both want the children's records in their home wards?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:47 pm

cwhiting wrote:What is the policy concerning records for children where the parents are divorced and live in different stakes & wards and they both want the children's records in their home wards?


Although I don't know of a direct answer to this particular question, the guidance in the MLS help file under "Confidential Nature of Records" says that a parent of a member can only see membership records if:

  1. The parents have legal custody.
  2. The child is under 18.
  3. The child is living in the household.
It seems that if the Church restricts viewing of the membership records this way, then the location of the records would seem to follow similar guidelines.

Thus I would say that the key questions are: Who has legal custody and where do the children live? Hopefully you get the same answer for both questions. If so, it seems to me that you have your answer as to where the records should be.

scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:08 pm

The church needs to handle the reality of joint custody. It's been around for a day or two.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:04 pm

As Alan states, if one parent has custody and the children live with them it may be an easy answer. If there is joint custody then this is one of those situations where direction from the proper Priesthood authority is necessary. As scion mentions, a joint custody situation complicates the matter and more information would be needed to make an informed decision. I would not discuss the particulars in the forums but take it to the bishop first - who then would take it to the stake president - who then would take it to an area autority and so on.
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greggo
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Postby greggo » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:34 am

jdlessley wrote:As Alan states, if one parent has custody and the children live with them it may be an easy answer. If there is joint custody then this is one of those situations where direction from the proper Priesthood authority is necessary. As scion mentions, a joint custody situation complicates the matter and more information would be needed to make an informed decision. I would not discuss the particulars in the forums but take it to the bishop first - who then would take it to the stake president - who then would take it to an area autority and so on.


I would hope that the PH leaders would get input from the parents and the children themselves before deciding where the records go. I would think that the records should probably go to whichever ward they would most be attending.

scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:01 pm

Where there is shared custody & the minors are youth, having access to the ward calendars and stake directories for each stake are important for the youth to maintain some semblance of normalcy & be included. Others need to be able to reach them readily, too. Ahhh, but I digress. I'm back to the need for multiple phone numbers with designations for cell . . .;)

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:20 pm

Would this be a situation where an "out of unit member" entry in MLS would do the job? Clearly, the record can only belong in one Ward, and I wouldn't want to see it go back and forth every week or month. But this might get them the visibility they need in the other ward.
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greggo
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Postby greggo » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:48 am

RussellHltn wrote:Would this be a situation where an "out of unit member" entry in MLS would do the job?


I say they should definitely be included as "out of unit members" in the ward that doesn't have the records. This way, they will show up in lists for both wards. But of course they will only be counted in the ward with the membership records for quarterly reporting purposes.

jpjones~ogr
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Postby jpjones~ogr » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:11 pm

This is a very interesting discussion.

I've long held a position that the custodial parent's ward should hold the records. As yet, I haven't had to consider dual custody conditions. For dual custody isn't one parent designated as being their official residence, at least for the court's needs?

Regarding transferring records back and forth, a rule of thumb (and possibly in the handbook) was to request records if members were expected to reside in the ward for at least 3 months. The old paper records system rule used to be 6 months. With the current speed of transfers I readily request records when I can reasonably expect members to be around for a while. Besides, it gives me a chance to deal with records corrections that may be needed.

Regardless of whether or not we have their records, our ward seems to be well aware and very inclusive of these special needs children. Primary occasionally asks me to request records for children of divorced parents, and I reply that custodial parents have prime rights. No one has yet reported that the parent the children visit actually is or has become the custodial parent.

It's been interesting to watch as our Primary (through several presidencies) has consistently fellowshipped these special little ones. We've even been part of preparing little lost grandchildren, nephews, and nieces (not of divorces) for baptism.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:24 am

jpjonesxyz wrote:I've long held a position that the custodial parent's ward should hold the records. As yet, I haven't had to consider dual custody conditions. For dual custody isn't one parent designated as being their official residence, at least for the court's needs?

I think this is a good general rule to follow, and likely it will be the right ward 4 out of 5 times (or maybe even 9 out of 10 times). I can imagine a few factors that could change where the record should reside, for instance the custodial parent may be completely inactive, not bringing the child to church, while the other parent may be fairly active.

Like I said, your general rule is a good one and will prove correct a vast majority of the time. I personally think it is wise to ask a follow-up question, and that is "In which ward will the child be best fellowshipped?" It's an extremely important consideration.
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