I have recently learned information about my 4-year-old son’s father that leads me to think that he is not providing a safe environment while my son is in his custody. We have no legal documents or custody orders of any kind. We all lived together along with my 8-year-old son from a previous relationship, until the summer of 2010. Unfortunately, I do have a history of prescription pill addiction which lead to several arrests. When I got out of jail my oldest son & I moved in with my parents so that I could put most of my focus on improving my way of living. During that time my 4-year-old was staying with his dad about 70% of the time. When his dad understood I was not interested in making things work with him he started to ignore my messages & it only got worse when he learned I was dating. A week or so ago I was advised by a mutual friend of ours that I may want to look into the ex’s ‘lifestyle.’ Which is when I found he had been posting personal ads on craigslist & inviting men he’d never met before to the house to engage in sexual activities while my son is there. I also found emails of his where he was asking a guy for money and said he would perform oral sex. I know I am not educated in the law enforcement field, but I’m almost certain that would be considered prostitution. After consulting with someone I was advised to make an appointment to talk to the sheriff which I did. After giving all the printed information to a detective he interviewed my son and my son didn’t give any indication of seeing any of this go on. I was told there was nothing that could be done. I was also told that it isn’t illegal to be a homosexual and was pretty much blown off after that. They did however go out and talk to the ex and told him what I had done. I then called DCF and told them and I got the same response. They said they couldn’t make a report just because he is having sex. My son has made several sexual comments and body movements. I am terrified that I am going to eventually have to let my son go stay with his dad. I am trying to do everything the right and legal way, but I’m not getting anywhere. I just don’t understand why this is not a concern to the authorities. The last thing I want is for DCF to barge in my life, but I would’t be doing my duty as a mother if I didn’t look into this. I can’t with 100% certainty that my son has been exposed to anything, BUT I can’t say with 100% that he hasn’t. I do apologize for writing so much, but I just don’t know what to do. I haven’t slept or ate or anything in a week. I have contacted and done all I could think of. I don’t believe I’m making something out of nothing, in my heart I know I’m doing exactly what any mother would do. So, I guess my question would be am I correct in thinking what he is doing is criminal? Do I have a right as a mother to deny any requests his father makes to come get him? Who else could I call to have this looked at other than the county Sheriffs office & the Department of Children & Family Services? Should I look into getting an attorney? Any information you could provide will be gratefully received.
If you are concerned about your child’s well being while in the care of his father, it may be in your best interest to obtain a child custody order that sets the specific guidelines regarding physical and legal custody of your 4-year-old son. Depending on your state law, if and when you file an order for custody, you can request to have full or partial physical custody of your son. You can reference the behavior of your child’s father to help support your claim for full custody. Additionally, you may ask the court to limit your son’s father to supervised visitations as well.
Note, most courts seek to facilitate the relationship between the parents and child. It is unlikely for the court to limit your son’s father visitation rights without concrete evidence that he is a threat to your child’s well being.
You should consult with a local family law attorney for legal advice and guidance on how to proceed with your matter.