By Christian D. Barnard
Divorce Lawyer, Cordell & Cordell
If your ex-wife’s new boyfriend is verbally or physically abusing your child and you are concerned for your child’s mental and physical safety and wellbeing, most jurisdictions have a process through which you can ask the court to award you emergency custody.
Typically, this process requires that you file a document with the court alleging that your child is in danger describing the situation and your concerns. The court will likely hear your allegations very quickly.
Most states have rules that require a court to hear such cases within a day or two of filing when there is an emergency.
This first hearing will likely be ex parte – that is just you and the judge – without your wife or her boyfriend present. The judge will hear your story and decide whether your allegations warrant taking your child out of your ex-wife’s home and away from her boyfriend.
If you are successful in getting your child on this emergency basis, it will likely only be temporary. The judge will set your case for a full evidentiary hearing where your wife and her boyfriend will be able to give their side of the story as well.
If at the end of this full hearing the judge awards you child custody based on your allegations, you should consider seeking a modification of the decree that was entered in your divorce.
For the modification you will need to show that a substantial and permanent change has occurred which warrants changes to the terms of the decree, specifically child custody and visitation.
You may be able to use the judge’s order in the emergency child custody case to modify your decree in order to get custody of your child and increased visitation. This may also help your financial situation as increased visitation can result in lowered child support.
For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a divorce lawyer.
To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Christian D. Barnard, an Associate Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.