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My wife and I have physical custody of my 13 yr old son

Customer Question
My wife and I...

My wife and I have physical custody of my 13 yr old son while his biological mother has visitation. The court determined me to be the better parent last year after hearing my son's preference and determining my ex-wife was incapable of providing for him, and allowed me to move from TN to CA with my son. His mother has him 6 weeks during the summer and alternate Christmas and Spring/Fall Breaks. I am a member of the military and my ex-wife is purposefully underemployed and relies on social assistance and food stamps. My son returned home from his most recent visit with an iPad his mother gave him to use. The iPad contains hundreds of disturbing, sexually explicit photos and videos of his mother. Additionally, there are numerous texts on the iPad between my ex-wife and different men discussing payment for sex and meeting arrangements. Several of these meeting coincide with when my son was in her custody; several of the arrangements have included my ex-wife agreeing to being beaten and then her taking pictures of her injuries and texting them back to the men. My son has seen the photos and texts and the police have taken the iPad as evidence. I have grave concerns for my son's safety and welfare and feel my ex-wife is endangering him. Where do I go from here?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

This all just happened yesterday. I don't know what my first steps should be

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

I am in California; my ex-wife resides in TN.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/26/2018
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago
Nisha Jones
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,347
Experience: Managing Attorney at Nisha Jones Law, LLC
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Good morning, I am an attorney expert with the JustAnswer website, and former Prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office. I have a near 100% customer satisfaction rate, and I'll be answering your questions today. JustAnswer provides general legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. Please allow me just a few minutes to review your question, thank you!

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. Give me just a few minutes to finish typing up some information for you, thanks!

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

What you should do is have your attorney petition for involuntary termination of parental rights.

Given the circumstances that you mentioned above, and the numerous threats posed to your son's safety and well-being, the family court judge should have more than enough evidence indicating grounds for termination of the mother's parental rights.

This would protect your son from having to visit with her again in the future, and from her having any grounds for legal recourse to custody or visitation rights with him.

Since the case was originally filed in Tennessee, then that court still has jurisdiction now and you could file your petition there.

However if you've been living in California for at least 6 months, then you can petition for jurisdiction to be transferred there.

Since the criminal case is pending in Tennessee though and since your son's mother resides there, it may be strategically smarter and more expeditious to leave the case in Tennessee. This strategy would be something to speak with your attorney about further.

I hope that helps!

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this. Also, please take a moment to rate me using the stars at the top of the page, as it's the only way experts are compensated for our time on the site. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating of 3 stars or more (5 stars are always appreciated). The question won't close after rating, so you can still ask follow-up questions after. Thanks, ***** ***** it!

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I have already domesticated our Family Court Order to California and TN no longer has jurisdiction.Would this be an emergency filing or a regular filing? I do not want to be held in contempt of court for not complying with her next visitation but I cannot send my son under these circumstances. Her next visitation is in June.
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

It should be considered an emergency filing.

It most likely would be ample time even if filed as a regular filing.

However given the nature of what's occurred, this would qualify for an emergency filing, which would also help ensure you have a ruling before her next scheduled visitation date.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you still have any questions about this.

Don't forget to rate so I can be credited for my time and help with your question, thanks!

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
The mother resides with 2 unrelated adult males, both of whom have criminal records, and she is advertising another bedroom for rent in her house. Are these also facts a judge would consider unfit/unsuitable?
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

It depends, but given the other allegations here it would be relevant yes, and you should include this information in your petition.

It's further evidence of the concern of an unsafe environment for your son.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Since the iPad was taken by the police as evidence, am I legally allowed to have it back or request a copy of it for family court?
Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

It most likely is not possible to access the ipad or have copies made now, as it needs to remain in police care with a specific chain of custody in order to be able to be admitted as authenticated evidence in the criminal case.

You can however provide a detailed list of what was found in the ipad, along with reference to the police case number ***** pending criminal case number (which is a separate number once your son's mother attends Arraignment).

This should be sufficient for the judge to be able to verify the allegations in your family court petition.

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Family Lawyer: Nisha Jones,
 replied 3 months ago

I hope that helps! Let me know if you still have any questions about this.

Don't forget to rate, thanks!

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