Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for your follow-up.This is going to be a multi-step approach and something that you are free to double-check with your own attorney.1. Th most pressing issue is to contest notice and lack of documentation provided to the grand-daughter. In cases of filing for divorce or for custody, the party has to file and serve at the last known address, which is what the petitioner must show to the judge. If your daughter can show that within those 6 months between when he filed for divorce and ended up obtaining it they were in some sort of contact (such as emails, chat, text, etc...), she can use that as grounds to show that he knew where she was and failed to properly notify, which grants her the right to reopen the divorce settlement agreement. It would not grant her the right to invalidate the divorce itself, but she could use that to set aside the conditions under which the divorce was granted, including the child custody element.2. Then child custody would need to be addressed. Courts look to what they see as decisions based on the 'best interest' of the child. Your granddaughter would need to attack his fitness and show her own. Examples of factors that play a part may be a history of abuse or neglect, domestic violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, mental illness, criminality, moral turpitude, and the characteristics of housing for the child. The fact she was abused by him but never reported is arguably tough to bring up, but the other factors you listed as well as his outright lying would go to neglect and moral turpitude. That is the best way to attack the order and then have her request the right to relocate and be with family which would be likewise in the best interest of the child.3. The other issues you brought up pertaining to theft or deception is a non issue here for now, she has to focus on setting aside the order and convincing the judge that he lied to the judge outright. Judges tend to hate that, and do tend to use that against the other party.Good luck.