Potential Abuse - new Step Dad

My step-son is 17 and his mother has remarried a man she knew for a short time prior to their being wed. We have been in and out of court over the course of the past 3 years due to her refusal to follow the custody order, basically visitation, moving without notice, not allowing scheduled phone calls, etc. We had gone for full custody when step-son asked to come live with us and when she got word of it, she loosened up completely and began allowing him freedom’s he had not had in past (playing team sports, going to friends homes) which for her was huge - as the freedoms were nothing wild, just basic coming and going for most other kids. When we got to court, step-son didn’t want to give up the freedom and was a sophmore in high school, so when the judge asked him if he wanted to move, he waivered.

Enter step-dad. The marriage might be a full year now, we are unsure as the ex wife hid the marriage and the new husband from us for months. Upon realizing there was a man (first since divorce that we are aware of) I did some digging, got his license tag and last name, then did a background check on him - he is an ex-con, jailed on assault charges for 13 months in the late 80’s, disorderly conduct, damage to personal property, assault on female (found not guilty, but record indicates there was an altercation), and many many traffic issues (running red light, running stop sign, speeding 69/45, wreckless driving, etc) the most recent is from Dec 2011, just found guilty in Feb 2012.

The issue: This man seems to have an issue with anger from the way the record reads. From the first interaction with him, he has seemed sullen and not pleasant (the excuse from our step-son is that he is very protective of mom and son…protective of what we wonder). We typically do our best not to interact with him, however, on normal scheduled phone calls over time he has become vocally beligerant to my husband, yelling in the back ground while step-son is on the phone, and during drop off and pickup for visitation, his behavior has begun to escalate from screeching into the parking lot, screeching out of the parking lot to actively rolling down his window and yelling obscenities if my husband is late (even if it is as little at 3 - 6 minutes) for the pickup drop off meet. This past Sunday he made made a huge scene in public when my husband and step son arrived 6 minutes late (it is a 2 hr drive one way) and when my husband did not react, he turned on my step son and began yelling at him, and threatened to make him walk home if he was late again (2.5 hour trip for them) Now my husband is a very calm low key man (25 year submarine chief) and does not raise his voice. There is no record of any domestic issues in the home prior to his divorce from the ex wife, no allegations of abuse, and he has never responded in any situation in a negative or belligerent manner. He did not respond in this situation.

Here is my concern: His cell phone (which we purchased and pay for monthly) was taken as punishment for being at a friend’s home in his neighborhood longer than step father thought was appropriate (never had a curfew, came in at 10 pm during summertime). Step son is now being grounded for what appears to be a no win situation - went for a run, storm blew up, had to take cover at a neighbors house, home 1.5 hr later but couldn’t call as his cell phone had been taken (the neighbor has no home phone and friend did not have cell). Now out of the blue, this friend that has been a part of step son’s life for over 4 years and played football with him is no longer welcome to come visit. And since step son couldn’t get a ride to football practice (mom does not work) he has had to drop off the team. He was filing out job applications, and since he did not have permission to use the computer, the hard drive was removed. (the computer is in his room, he never had to ask for permission before) Essentially he is being isolated from any contact with anyone outside except during school. He has been training for the Navy Seals (Sr this year) for 2 years, asked mom to take him to a recruiter so he could take the ASVAB and see if his score had increased (we gave him a sample one with a book over a year ago) and she said she would, but next day step dad told her not to and when recruiter offered to come pick step son up, mom threatened to call the police and have the recruiter arrested for kidnapping if she showed up.

We are getting scared about this situation. The boy is being isolated from anyone outside of school, his friend is no longer welcome in the home, and he is no longer playing sports. The behavior of the step dad is getting worse, and if he is reacting in this way in public, I fear what is actually going on at home. Now my step son has never been around this kind of behavior, and his mother seems to be ignoring it in public, and the excuse that my step son was given is that the new step dad is ‘protective’ - but what does he need to be protective about? As there are no interactions between my husband and the step dad except being in the same location for pick up and drop off, what on earth could set him off.

Unless his record is hiding an abuser that hasn’t been caught or reported yet. They live in very rural Onslow County - his traffic tickets alone should have caused his license to be pulled, but it hasn’t.

Our attorney has suggested an emergency ex parte order to keep the step dad away from my husband at drop off pickup, but that requires the step son to verify the events causing the order, which means he’s open to retribution afterward. Again, he has never been exposed to this kind of situation and he will likely follow mom’s footsteps in making excuses (sound familiar?)

Suggestions ?

Sounds like your attorney is giving you good advice given the situation and with the fact that he probably has a better understanding of the facts than I do. If you are really concerned about your step-son’s well-being, I would also consider filing a motion to modify custody.