Can I get emergency hearing for relief?


#1

My question involves a child custody case from the State of: North Carolina

I’ll try to be brief but here are the details:

Background:
My ex and I split 6 years ago and the custody and divorce was filed and handled in the county in which we were living in 2008.

In 2009 we all moved to Wake county 2 hours away from where the custody and divorced was originally filed. I’ve been asking her for years to have the case moved to Wake county but she has refused because she her attorney in the original county is a family friend and gives her a discount.

Here’s the issue:

Up until January 2014 I had joint custody of my daughter. In January 2014 my ex lied to my daughters therapist and encouraged my 8 year old daughter to lie to the therapist, too. Therapist and my ex alleged that I gave my daughter alcohol over Christmas 2013, which is untrue!

My ex took the letter from the therapist to her attorney and filed for an emergency custody order and got it. Feb of 2014 we go to court and I lose custody and was ordered to undergo 90-days of alcohol monitoring, hair follicle drug test that showed any drugs I had taken over the previous 90 days, I was ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment, provide a list of all prescriptions from my doctor as well as the right for my ex to speak to my doctor to confirm them and finally, begin therapy with a family therapist. Once I complete all of these conditions then we were to return to court and the old custody agreement would be reinstated.

The consent agreement stated that once I submitted to the hair follicle drug test and IMPLEMENTED (not complete) alcohol monitoring I would then regain weekend visitation from Friday at 5pm until Sunday at 5pm. Until I did these 2 things, I would have only supervised visitation every other Saturday and Sunday from 12-3.

I began alcohol monitoring, took and passed the hair drug test, was found not to have a substance abuse problem, but my ex still refused to give me my weekends back. This went on all summer and finally in August, 2014 I filed for a motion to show cause against my ex and a motion to modify custody but couldn’t get a court date until Dec 4th 2014!

Meanwhile I’ve only seen my daughter every 2 weeks for a few hours for nearly a year. My ex has NEVER supervised a single weekend in fact, instead of supervising visitation from 12-3 Sat and 12-3 Sunday, my ex has been dropping my daughter off for 5 hours at my home every other Saturday UNSUPERVISED!

So, we show up to court Dec 4th, last week and as my luck seems to go, my attorney was called to superior court and had to leave before the hearing even started and the judge rescheduled the case until Feb 10th 2015! He goes on to say that his court shouldn’t be hearing the case and that it should be heard by Wake county and that on Feb 10th he will move to change venue and my show cause and motion to modify custody will have to wait and be scheduled in Wake county! If the venue is changed on 2/10/15 it will take weeks for the file to be moved to Wake county and then months after that before I can get a new hearing Wake County, So now it may be late spring or summer before I get in front of a judge; well over a year since this all started!!

Meanwhile until then I will continue to be denied overnight weekends and have to continue paying over $300 a month for alcohol monitoring that was only supposed to last for 90 days. My ex and her attorney say that if I stop alcohol monitoring then they will suspend supervised visitation. They say they can do this because the court order says I must continue monitoring until further orders of the court. Of course the assumption at the time was we would be back in front of a court LONG before now.

I have been compliant with the alcohol monitoring that was supposed to be for 90 days but I’ve had to do it for 5 months now with no end in sight! I also passed the drug hair screen. The main problem is I cant continue to afford the alcohol monitoring, I have struggled with it financially for a while now and if I don’t pay the monitoring service what I owe them soon they will turn me off. I don’t want to be in contempt by not continuing to do alcohol monitoring but I’m running out of options! More importantly is NOT FAIR to me or my little girl that we are denied our weekends together. Its clear that safety isn’t the TRUE issue since my ex has been defying the court order since February by not supervising visitation! She just drops her off at my home at 12 and picks her up at 5 every other Saturday!

Is there any type of motion I can file for relief since this has gone on far longer than was ordered? It’s not fair for me to have to wait another 5 or 6 months to get financial relief from this monitoring and alienation from my daughter.

PLEASE someone tell me I have some type of hope at getting an emergency hearing for relief or some other way of dealing with this legally?!

Thanks so MUCH in advance for any advice.

Sad Dad


#2

Our statutes state that emergency/temporary orders which change the living arrangements of a child or changes custody cannot be entered without a hearing unless the court finds that the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse, or that there is a substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts. These are the specific grounds that are needed to be granted emergency custody. Unless this applies to your case, I would continue to pursue your motion for modification. Since jurisdiction is proper in Wake County, you should also make a motion to change venue to Wake County.