(WSVN) - His ex-wife is supposed to drop his son off every other weekend for visits. When she didn’t he got frustrated and stood in front of her house with a loudspeaker, and what happened next led him to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Jefferson and his wife have two young children, and he has a 15-year-old son from a prior marriage.
Jefferson Bastos: “I love it when he’s here, and he’s with my two other kids. They get along, and they’re playing together. It’s like my dream.”
But unfortunately, Jefferson only gets to see that son every other weekend.
Jefferson Bastos: “I love him. I would go to jail for him.”
Jefferson smiles, but he is serious.
Jefferson Bastos: “There is a court order to drop him off every other Friday. You haven’t done so. You’ve been doing this on and off throughout 15 years.”
Jefferson said he and his ex have battled for years about the visits.
The final straw came in early September when she didn’t drop him off because, Jefferson says, she was mad at him.
Jefferson Bastos: “The first thing she asked me is: ‘Why I told him the reason the reason why we got divorced?’ I said, ‘This has nothing to do with you dropping him off,’ and she got upset. She hang up the phone.”
The next morning, Jefferson drove to her house.
Jefferson Bastos: “I went back to protest.”
He pulled out a Bluetooth speaker.
Jefferson Bastos: “Put it on and I used my phone as a mic.”
Recording: “I’m not leaving here without my son or I am going to jail. Come out here. You guys are cowards. You use my son against me.”
The police were called.
Jefferson Bastos: “And I showed them the court order that she’s supposed to drop him off to me.”
They told him they couldn’t force his wife to let him see his son for the weekend, that he should ask a judge to handle it. A waste of time, Jefferson replied.
Jefferson Bastos: “Courts are packed. Courts are overwhelmed with cases. I cannot wait two years from now, a year and a half from now. I need things done now.”
The officer spoke to his ex, and then came back to talk to Jefferson.
Jefferson Bastos: “I told them I am not going to leave until my son comes with me. ‘You need to leave, or you’re going to get arrested.’ I said, ‘OK then, take me. I guess I’m getting arrested,’ so they took me to jail.”
Jefferson says for the first time in his life, he was put in handcuffs, but he says he doesn’t regret it because he did it for his son.
Jefferson Bastos: “Nothing should keep us from being together every other weekend, at least.”
Well, Howard, legally, where does Jefferson stand?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “The county records show the community where Jefferson was arrested has private roads, so it’s legal to arrest him and charge him with trespassing for refusing to leave. His frustration is understandable for not getting to see his son, but you have to go to court, even though it’s taking forever now because of the COVID backup.”
I spoke to Jefferson’s ex-wife.
She said she has always dropped their son off for visits, and she didn’t follow the court order on Sept. 3 because her son didn’t want to go.
She said he talks to his father but didn’t want to go two weeks later in September, as well.
Jefferson Bastos: “What if he says, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go because I want to hang out with my friends.’ Does he have the right to do that?”
Howard Finkelstein: “No, the child does not, and the mother should drop him off with the father. She can ask the judge to change the court order, but the judge makes that decision, not the parents.”
And Jefferson hopes the judge tells his ex-wife she has to follow the visitation schedule.
Jefferson Bastos: “If I’m being unreasonable, please, somebody tell me I’m being unreasonable.”
Imagine if you couldn’t see your child.
Now, Jefferson says he tried to get the judge to enforce the visitation order.
He was told he had to have his lawyer do it, which costs money, so his wait goes on.
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