I took my ex to court and was awarded joint custody of our 3 children. My youngest son whom is 4 had been complaining previously that his moms boyfriend is mean to him, locks him in the garage, calls him a girl and demeaning names. So I addressed it with his mom who denied it. Saying he would never do that. So I let it go. Then it progressed to my son only wanting to stay with me and no longer go home. I asked why and he said because he hit him. So again I addressed with there mom and again it was denied by her and him. I made sure to put it in the court documents that no one is to physically discipline the children out side of just the biological parent. The judge signed off on that when I was awarded joint parenting time/custody. My son's fear is even worse now and says that hes choking him and spanking him still and that his mom knows and that hes not allowed to tell me what goes on or hes going to be in big trouble since what happens at their house stays there. I have recorded videos of my son saying what's going on and what they tell him. My other 2 children who are girls aged 13 and 7 dont have those issues. Just him, what do I need to do or have to be able to remove my son?
The manner of seeking change is through a Petition to Modify. You can modify Legal Decision Making upon a showing of "the failure of the other parent to comply with the provisions of the order", or other significant and continuing changes. The court may modify parenting time rights whenever modification would serve the best interest of the child, "but the court shall not restrict a parent's parenting time rights unless it finds that the parenting time would endanger seriously the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health". It does seem you have strong claims regarding the youngest child.
DO the older children witness these events and agree that they are happening?
There is no way to predict exactly what a Judge will do. Your goal would be to paint an overall picture of the life you can provide for the child compared to Mother's. With most things being somewhat equal, our Court's certainly do order equal parenting time quite often. In fact, A.R.S. §25-403.02(B) requires the Court to adopt a parenting plan that provides for both parents to share legal decision-making regarding their child and that maximizes their respective parenting time (so long as such is in the child's best interests).
So, if you do not believe that kind of schedule to be in the child's best interests, you will need to prepare to convince your judge of your concerns.
A qualified and experienced family law attorney can of course assist you in considering your options and then getting where you need to be. Most of us offer free, ½ hour consultations, in which your matter can be discussed in detail. That would be a great opportunity to discuss the specifics of your matter and develop a plan. I would encourage you to quickly schedule this free consultation.
You would need to be able to prove the alleged abuse and, unfortunately, this is extremely difficult.
The videos of your child are likely insufficient and may even expose you to allegations that they are performative and that you’re coaching the child.
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