Can I prevent my children, ages 4 and 7, from going over their mother’s due to drugs and related issues?

UPDATED: Nov 25, 2012

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Can I prevent my children, ages 4 and 7, from going over their mother’s due to drugs and related issues?

I am currently going through a divorce and have filed my paperwork for it, along with full custody of our 2 children. My wife has not responded to the paperwork that she was served. I have yet to file a non response. Do I have legal rights over the children yet? My ex’s personal situation has gotten really out of hand and I am very concerned about the safety of the children while in her care. She has a few diagnosed mental conditions and now has become involved with methamphetamine. Her house was recently robbed and she was beat up by some “friends”. What do I do if she shows up to my house with police officers wanting the children?

Asked on November 25, 2012 under Family Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Until such time as a formal order by a court or agreement between you is in place you and your wife have equal rights to your children.  But it sounds to me as if you should consider filing an emergency - also called "ex parte" - petition for immediate custody given the situation.  It would be "in the best interest of the children" which is the standard used.  Please get help.  Good luck.

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