How can I confront my ex-wife about my son regarding neglect?

My ex-wife is not caring for my son; her friend and friend’s husband is. This has going on for 3 years now. They have told me that they will take care of my son until my ex-wife is on her feet for at least 2 years. Like I said it’s been almost 3 years and the friend still cares for my son. The friends of my ex-wife are claiming that my son is theirs. Even on Facebook she talks of raising my son, I have custody of my oldest son also from my ex-wife. Should I confront my ex and her friends? or just out right get a lawyer. If I get a lawyer will I stand a chance since I’m a father in court?

Asked on March 9, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You really list several issues in your question.  First, if you already have custody of one child, you actually have a fairly good chance of getting custody of your second child.  Courts like to keep children together, when possible.  Second, if your wife is not taking care of your child and you know that someone else is literally raising your child-- then the longer you allow that to continue--- the more it will count against you in a custody battle.  Essentially, the argument is "if you were really concerned about the welfare of your child, why didn't you say something sooner."  Third-- with regard to confronting your wife and her friends-- once you confront them, the Facebook pages will probably change-- suddenly she'll look like doting mother.  If you want to discuss with them the possibility of changing custody to you, then preserve and print as many of the Facebook pages as you can-- before you talk to them.  You need evidence that the friends are taking care of your child, not your ex.  Fourth-- with regard to your friends "claiming your son."  The only way they can claim your son is if you abandon your son by failing to provide for the support of your child or you have physically harmed your child.  Otherwise, Texas has a strong parental presumption in favor of the parent having custody.  Fifth-- with regard the issue of confront or hire a lawyer-- your probably better off doing both.  Consult with an attorney.  See if they can work on the paperwork to modify custody, then approach your ex about making the change.  To make the modification a bit less shocking, you may want to include some extended visitation priviledges so she doesn't feel your ripping her out of your child's life, but rather making things easier for her.  This is just a stylistic suggestion.  Before you approach her, you may want to at least do a consultation with an attorney to review your current paperwork and ask some follow-up questions that address some issues you've touched on in your question.


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