Grimes couldn’t catch Elon Musk handing over child custody papers

Grimes said her attorneys had their hands full serving Elon Musk with her custody complaint for her three children. Clive Mason/Formula 1/Getty Images

  • Grimes said she served her former partner Elon Musk with custody papers last month.
  • Process servers attempted to deliver the papers to X and Tesla, and one of them even tracked Musk’s jet.
  • Grimes is suing Musk for custody of her three children.

According to court documents obtained by Insider, Grimes hired people to search everywhere for the father of her children, Elon Musk, to hand over the custody papers to him.

The singer, whose legal name is Claire Boucher, is suing Musk for custody of her three children with Musk. Grimes told a Texas court in October that Musk’s custody of their 3-year-old son, X Æ A-XII, had “expired.” [her] Objection.” Her lawsuit came just weeks after Musk quietly sued her to “establish the parent-child relationship” with his children.

An attorney for Grimes filed a supplemental proof of service document on Friday showing that they had attempted to serve custody papers on Musk on multiple occasions and had served the documents via substituted service, which meant the papers were delivered to workers at some of Musk’s companies as well as employees of a property linked to the billionaire instead of Musk himself.

As of Thursday, Musk had not officially responded to the lawsuit.

Grimes hired four different process servers to serve the papers. Between October 13 and 20, they tried to track down the billionaire at more than a dozen locations, including at the headquarters of

One of the bailiffs even went to a horse farm that had been linked to the billionaire. “Nope, not here,” a woman on site told them when they asked about Musk.

A process server even tracked Musk’s private jets to find the best place to contact the billionaire, Grimes’ court papers say.

Two process servers also attempted to serve Musk at Shivon Zilis’ home. Zilis is a director at Neuralink, one of Musk’s startups, and the mother of two of his children. But in at least one case, the person who answered the door at Zilis’ home told counsel he didn’t know Musk, court documents say.

Legal counsel were unable to deliver court documents to Musk in person and were shooed away in several instances, including by security guards at Tesla and X and a police officer in Boca Chica. The servers said they left the papers with several secondary employees, including security guards at X, Tesla and SpaceX, court documents show.

Grimes “made more than reasonable efforts”

In her court filing, Grimes said that handing over her complaint to Musk’s security detail

Christopher Melcher, a California family law attorney and partner at Walzer Melcher, told Insider that three attempts to serve someone is usually sufficient under California law and that Grimes’ team made “more than reasonable efforts.”

He also said that substituted delivery when papers are left at another person’s home or business would be acceptable if reasonable attempts were made to serve them directly. The practice is particularly relevant for someone who is rich or famous and has many barriers around them.

“None of these security guards were planning on letting the bailiff in,” Melcher said. “They could have come 100 times.”

Grimes was “outraged” after learning that Elon Musk had secretly fathered twins. Photo by Amy Sussman/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

Although it’s possible that Musk and his lawyers could argue that Grimes should have tried harder to serve him personally, Melcher said that would be “completely silly.”

“He did not evade service, but he is not really in a position to be served because anyone who tried to approach him would be attacked by security,” he added.

Grimes’ attorneys said in supplemental proof of service that Musk was served via alternate service on Oct. 20 and that they also mailed him custody papers that day. Melcher said Musk would typically have to respond 10 days after the replacement was delivered, plus the usual 30 days, which meant he would have until Nov. 29.

Melcher added that the date of service is also important because the standing order preventing the children from being removed from California does not apply to Musk until he is served.

The next step for Musk will likely be to file a motion arguing that the custody case should proceed in Texas, where he sued Grimes, rather than in California.

“You will be stuck in legal limbo for months until the jurisdiction dispute is resolved,” Melcher said.

Musk and attorneys for Musk and Grimes did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Thursday.

The couple had an on-again, off-again relationship that began in 2018. The couple first separated in 2021 but continued to co-parent their child. They also had a daughter together in 2021 and a third child, a son, in 2022. Grimes even lived with Musk in Austin for a while after their first breakup.

But cracks began to appear in their relationship in September when Grimes made a post

“Tell Elon to let me see my son or please respond to my lawyer,” Grimes wrote in the now-deleted Sept. 7 post.

She wrote the post in response to a picture shared by Musk’s biographer of Musk with Zilis at her home in Austin.

Musk has 10 known living children that he fathered with three different women, including his youngest, a 1-year-old son named Techno Mechanicus, or Tau, whom he fathered with Grimes and who was born via a surrogate last summer.

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Originally posted 2023-11-10 12:22:25.