This week, our family lawyers discuss custody when an ex is dating a sex offender.
The Question: Can I get an emergency custody order and modify the custody arrangement if my ex-wife is dating a registered sex offender?
My ex-wife is dating a known sex offender. I share custody of our two kids (7M 10F), and I have no idea what legal recourse I have for this. He has served time for crossing state lines to have sex with a child between the ages of 13-16. Can I get emergency custody? Is this grounds to change the custody agreement? This is happening in West Virginia. Sorry about the information being disjointed I am in pure panic mode.
The Answer: Short answer, no. Depending on the tier of the offender’s registration they will not be allowed contact with children. If there is contact with a child and they are not allowed, then they are violating the registry. Also, the courts do not place urgency on these matters.
We understand your concern about who your kids are around when you are not there to protect them. Natural Dad instincts. Even though the original poster is from West Virginia, our clients frequently ask similar questions, so we will look at it from a Maryland legal perspective.
The fact of the matter is that your ex’s new boyfriend may be a registered sex offender, but he may not be violating the registry.
Not all sex offender registrations are for child sex offenses. Rape and sexual assault can land a person on the registry. Depending on the tier of his sex offender registration, he may be around children.
If his tiering does not allow contact with children, he is violating the registry, and law enforcement can be called to remove the offender or the children from the home.
As for emergency custody, again, only if there’s a violation of the registry is that possible as Maryland looks to protect vulnerable citizens like kids. No violation means the courts don’t see the matter as an emergency.
There is always a chance to modify the custody agreement, but that requires going back to court or mediation to work out a new custody order. During these hearings or sessions is where you can use information about the ex-wife’s new boyfriend and your concern for your kid’s safety as reasons to modify the custody agreement.
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Our automatic disclaimer: We’re lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We’re providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual’s attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a “real” response!