Our custody agreement was created in SD, but we have now lived in WA state for three years. My sons father willingly lives in Ohio and is currently a wanted felon in MN for fifth degree assault, and facing charges of two counts aggravated arson in Ohio. He also has drug problems on top of mental issues. He has not seen his son in two and a half years and does not keep in touch. We have no address for him either. He now wants our five year old son to visit for six weeks in the summer. Will I lose custody if I withhold visitation even though we have definitive proof he would be endangered by being sent to Ohio?
What you should strongly consider doing is getting your SD order registered here in Washington, and then immediately asking the WA court to restrict your ex's time with your child for the reasons you cite above. This will get you a better outcome than making unilateral decisions without the Court's knowledge or approval. This is not self-help law. You need a local, well-regarded family law attorney, but if that is not possible, reach out to NWJustice or your local county Bar association and see if they can help you. Elizabeth Powell
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I agree with Ms. Powell.
It might help to think of it this way; proof is for the judge. Proof is only "definitive" after the judge has heard it and ruled on it. You need to get your proof in front of judge, who can then modify your parenting plan in a way to keep your child safe.
Taking an out of state custody order, domesticating it and then modifying it with the other party in a third state, is something best done with professional help. If you cannot hire an attorney, and cannot get help from Legal Aid, or Northwest Justice Project, Benton County has a family court facilitator who can at least help you make sure you are using the right forms, and that they are properly filled out. You can get an appointment with her through the Benton County Court Clerk's office.
Normally you have to follow the parenting plan unless you get a court order. There are some exceptions for danger to the child, but if you rely only on your belief in that danger, you run the risk of being held in contempt of court. You should immediately consult with an experienced attorney; bring the parenting plan, and proof of his problems with drugs, emotional illness, and criminal activity, with you to the consult. Don't delay. See my AVVO Legal Guides on parenting plans, petitions to modify, and interstate custody jurisdiction under the UCCJEA for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Although my AVVO Answers and Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. On my AVVO home page click on "Contribution - Legal Guides." If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”. © Bruce Clement
©Bruce Clement. This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.
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