“Hello. I am writing to see if there is anything that I can do about the current custody situation that is in place with my ex. We have one child together who will be 4 this December. We were never married, and he left to move across the country when our son was 4 days old and has had minimal contact with him since then. I remarried a year ago, and went through a whole custody issue with my ex. The court has ordered joint custody while giving me sole physical custody. He has still maintained minimal contact with our son, even though I have tried to set up exact times and dates for phone contact to occur and the webcam ( we live out of country and he is in the States). Anyways, I have now been contacted by his current girlfriend who is 8 months pregnant with twins fathered by him. She has just filed a domestic abuse charge against him because he came over and rough housed her and left bruises. She also has a protective order against him. Now there is a warrant out for his arrest. If he is arrested, and when the charges proceed, what can I do about petitioning the court for Sole custody? THis whole situation makes me uneasy about him being with our son. Would the court even consider my petition if the abuse is happening elsewhere?”
In order to petition the court for a change of custody, you typically have to demonstrate a change in circumstances. You should talk with a family law attorney in the state which has currently has jurisdiction, although if both you and your son’s father have both left that state, and if your son’s father challenges jurisdiction, you should know that he may be able to move the case to the state in which he currently lives (ordinarily it would more likely be the state in which the child lives, but you have indicated you are out of the country). It is likely that this new information would be considered an adequate change of circumstances – it would help to have a copy of that protective order. However, your own move, coupled with the fact that the father has not pursued more involvement with your son, may on its own be a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a change in custody.