My ex-wife and children live with her boyfriend, who has been arrested several times on domestic violence charges. Unfortunately, my ex-wife refuses to follow through on the charges. In fact, she always bails him out.
As of yet, the children have not been involved directly in the domestic violence. Do I have any rights as far as keeping him away from my children?
Unfortunately, the real DV victims tend to act this way. Let some pudgy housewife call her husband names and the "harassment" DV will always be pursued to the bitter end.
Anyway, to answer your direct question - no, you can't get a restraining order against him on behalf of your children under the DV Act; I won't even bother to list all the reasons.
What you can do is go to Family Court and seek an order changing custody (etc.) and requiring that the kids go to therapy, etc. I'm sure you'd prefer not to make things contentious with the ex, but there will be a point that you don't have a choice. Unless the kids are totally unaware of the DV, it's wrong to believe it hasn't affected them. They are being provided with a model for their future relationships, and it's disturbing to have a parent assaulted.
I would suggest telling the ex this as nicely as possible... that you don't want things to be contentious or unpleasant, but she's putting you in a hell of a situation, loving your kids and not wanting to fight with her. Ask her to really consider it from your point of view - what would she do if the tables were turned? If you can do so, I'd offer to help her financially with moving out. But, the bottom line is that if she doesn't, you can't let the kids be harmed and that you will apply to change custody.
Of course, this may result in her keeping future problems secret from you as much as possible.
You've got a tough situation - there is no magic wand any attorney or court can wave for you. And, while this isn't my pat response to every post here.... you really should get a consult with someone who specializes in Family Law and has seen these kinds of situations in the past. You need an experienced advocate by your side if you have to act to protect the kids, even if this makes the relationship with the ex more difficult.
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I agree with Mr. Davis. You need to question the custody in Family Court. That will be a tough go. But it certainly is not a healthy situation for your children. If the children are assaulted, the police and DYFS can be brought into the mix. Good Luck.
I agree with my colleagues. You have, in fact, a duty to get your children out of this situation, since she is unwilling. Go to family court and request at least a temporary transfer of custody, as long as she is living with the boyfriend.
Yes, you can file a motion for a change in custody alleging that the current home environment is unsafe for your children.
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