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Christian, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 17
Experience:  CA licensed attorney since 1995. Practice limited to family law.
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My son has been divorced from his X for about 3 yrs

Customer Question

My son has been divorced from his X for about 3 yrs and separated for about 4, they were married in Utah had a son and moved to Washington. The X live in Washington and he lives in Utah. The divorce was filed in Washington giving her custody. That she signed over to her mother a while back without consulting my son, she the left her children in the care of her mother and took off. She has a drug problem and has been in jail and in rehab for this before, main cause of the divorce, her other sons father is also been convicted for the same thing. Her mother called my son to notify him that she was gone and that he needed to know that he had all rights to do as he see fit with the boy. The mother was in agreement that he was going to come and get him this weekend and start the custody process. The X has shown back up and is threatning. My son feels that it is in his sons best intrest to be away from his mother and boyfriend. There are so many laws in Wa. about child custody where do start?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Christian replied 9 years ago.


I would suggest starting by finding a competent WA attorney to file for a modification of custody. It certainly sounds like your son has good grounds for a modification and potentially even the ex's mother would agree. Either way, your son will have to go to WA and set the process in motion by filing for the modification. He should also consider calling Child Protective Services in that area and having them take a report. It could be helpful to him in the custody case.

Good luck!

Christian and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Christian's Post: I thought about Child Protective services but the kids live with Grandma & Grandpa in a very nice home and they are very well taken care of. Our problem is not with the Grandparents and I think they will back her up.
How can she give legal custody to her mother without the fathers acceptance? And is there anything that can be done about it.
Expert:  Christian replied 9 years ago.

Hi again,

That all depends on what your son agreed to at the time the custody order was established and also whether or not he wishes to assert his right to custody now. He certainly will have priority over the maternal grandparents, assuming he is a fit parent himself.

I think that it is unlikely that she "signed over" legal custody to the grandparents. She may have signed an authorization giving them authority over certain decisions, but to change legal custody to a non-parent (guardianship) would have triggered notification to the father, which you're stating was never received.

What can you do? Have your son go and assert his legal right to custody as the father of the child. It will be a process but if the mother is as unfit as you state it should have a happy ending for you and your son.

Good luck!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
we have a letter from DSC from I believe to have been april showing that child support payments were going to the custodial parent, Grandma 's name. It is all we have recieved, is there anyother way of finding out, Wa. public records the something was filed back in Nov. by the X and by the boyfriend(father of her other child) is there anyway of finding out exactly what that was?
Expert:  Christian replied 9 years ago.

Yes - it's possible you could pay an "attorney service" (they are services that handle courier, copying, service, etc.) and have them copy the court file and send it to you where you live. Then you have the complete record.

Just go online and find an attorney service that works at the courthouse in that jurisdiction and give them a call. There will be a fee but it's probably the easiest way to get the records other than hoing to the courthouse yourself.

Good luck!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
A probono? And would that not be public records?
Expert:  Christian replied 9 years ago.

What I was saying was that you could walk in and request copies at the courthouse yourself (if you were there), but since you are far away you might want to call and see if a service could do it for you.

And yes - if something was filed in the case it should be part of the public record court file.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks for your help, I will follow thru with your suggestions.
Expert:  Christian replied 9 years ago.
Good luck!