- Grimes said she served her former partner Elon Musk with custody papers last month.
- Process servers attempted to deliver the papers at X, Tesla, and one even tracked Musk’s jet.
- Grimes is suing Musk for physical custody of their three children.
Grimes hired people to search high and low for her kids’ father, Elon Musk, in order to serve him with custody papers, according to court records obtained by Insider.
The singer, whose legal name is Claire Boucher, is suing Musk for physical custody of her three children with Musk. Grimes told a Texas court in October that Musk had custody of her three-year-old son, X Æ A-XII, “over [her] objection.” Her lawsuit came just a few weeks after Musk quietly sued her to “establish the parent-child relationship” with his children.
A lawyer for Grimes filed a supplemental proof of service document on Friday, showing they had attempted to serve Musk with custody papers on multiple occasions and had delivered the documents via substituted service, meaning the papers were given to workers at some of Musk’s businesses, as well as staff at a property associated with the billionaire, instead of Musk himself.
As of Thursday, Musk had not formally responded to the lawsuit.
Grimes hired four different process servers to deliver the papers. Between October 13 and 20, they tried to track the billionaire down across more than a dozen locations, including X’s headquarters in San Francisco, SpaceX’s launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, Tesla’s Austin gigafactory, and several addresses associated with Musk near Austin.
One of the process servers even went to a horse farm that had been tied to the billionaire. “Nope, not here,” a woman on-site told them when they asked for Musk.
One process server even tracked Musk’s private jets in order to confirm the best place to contact the billionaire, Grimes’ court papers state.
Two process servers also attempted to serve Musk at Shivon Zilis’ house. Zilis is a director at Neuralink, one of Musk’s startups, and the mother of two of his children. But in at least one instance, the person who answered the door at Zilis’ house told the process server they didn’t know Musk, the court documents said.
The process servers were unable to deliver the court documents to Musk personally, and were shooed away in several instances, including by security personnel at Tesla and X, and a police officer in Boca Chica. The servers said they left the papers with several secondary personnel, including security workers at X, Tesla, and SpaceX, according to the court documents.
Grimes ‘made more than reasonable efforts’
In her court papers, Grimes said her process server handing her complaint to Musk’s security at X was proof enough that she’d served her childrens’ father.
Christopher Melcher, a California family law attorney and partner at Walzer Melcher, told Insider that three attempts to serve someone is typically sufficient under California law and that Grimes’ team “made more than reasonable efforts.”
He also said substitute service, when papers are left with someone else at the person’s home or business, is acceptable if reasonable attempts are made to serve them directly. The practice is especially relevant in the case of someone who is rich or famous and has a lot of barriers around them.
“None of these security guards were going to let the process server in,” Melcher said. “They could’ve come 100 times.”
While it’s possible that Musk and his lawyers could argue Grimes should’ve tried harder to serve him personally, Melcher said that would be “completely silly.”
“He didn’t evade service, but he’s not really capable of being served because anyone who tried to approach him would be tackled by security,” he added.
Grimes’ lawyers said in the supplemental proof of service that Musk was served via substitute service on October 20, and that they also mailed the custody papers to him on that date too. Melcher said typically Musk would be required to respond 10 days after the substitute service, plus the typical 30 days, meaning he would have until November 29.
Melcher added that another reason the date of service matters is because the standing order that prevents the children from being moved out of California does not apply to Musk until he is served.
The next step for Musk will likely be to file a motion arguing the custody case should go forward in Texas, where he sued Grimes, rather than California.
“They will be in legal limbo for months until the jurisdictional dispute is resolved,” Melcher said.
Musk and lawyers for Musk and Grimes did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment on Thursday.
The pair were in an off-and-on again relationship that started in 2018. The couple first broke up in 2021, but they continued to co-parent their child. They also had a daughter together in 2021 and a third child, a son, in 2022. Grimes even continued to live with Musk in Austin for a period after they first broke up.
But cracks started to appear in their relationship in September when Grimes wrote and then quickly-deleted a post on X that appeared to reference legal trouble.
“Tell Elon to let me see my son or plz respond to my lawyer,” Grimes wrote in the since-deleted September 7 post.
She wrote the post in response to a picture Musk’s biographer had shared of Musk with Zilis at her home in Austin.
Musk has 10 known living children who he has fathered with three different women, including his youngest, a one-year-old son named Techno Mechanicus, or Tau, who he fathered with Grimes and was born via a surrogate last summer.