Can u file 4 full custody if no 1 can find the other parent?

2 part question - one more “emotional” and the other “legal”:

Ex has not paid CS since 12/2010. CSE took over my case in 4/2011 and ordered him to make payments on the amount in the arrears and begin paying through Raleigh effective 5/2011. He never did. He has not paid one dime and is hiding. No luck serving the last know address. No luck finding him through CSE (they run daily searching via their systems). No known employment. He’s been on a deadbeat parent poster, no luck. No luck from his family. No luck via internet/background searches. No luck with PI (only tried one so far) Anyone have any luck finding a missing deadbeat?

Here’s the legal part of my question

He has not has visitation with the children in over a year but occasionally calls them from a cell phone #. They don’t know where his is either. Can I file for full custody of the children? We currently have joint legal custody but I have physical custody. I have no address for him and no way to reach him. He does not answer my calls when I call the cell # or my emails. I can’t put him down on any school, camp, sports paperwork because he isn’t reachable and doesn’t want to be. I fear that some day he may come get them from school (history of mental illness and violent behavior) and I can’t stop this presently because he has legal joint custody. If he did I would have no way of finding them since no one knows where to look. But if I were to apply for full custody could I even do that since they can’t even serve him because no one knows where his is? Can the court change custody if they can’t serve the other parent? Is there a way to do this?


I am not an attorney

I am wondering if you might be able to get his parental rights terminated since he is not exercising his visitation and is not paying child support? The fact that he does contact them occasionally might hinder that happening (don’t know if there is a minimum amount of time that he has to not call as well), but would that be an option for the OP? Of course, OP, doing that would also likely let him “off the hook” for any other child support…

You can move for sole custody, or seek to have his parental rights terminated. He can be served via publication.

Ms. Russ,

Thank you for your response. But if this is true for custody, why can’t CSE serve also him “via publication” for non-payment of CS? They just keep tell me that nothing can be done about non-payment because he has to be served a motion to show cause. But they can’t serve him because they can’t find him. And if they can’t serve him they cannot issue a warrant for his arrest. If they could they would likely find him pretty quick because he gets pulled over about ever 6 months for speeding. I seem to be in this black hole now were I can’t move the needle forward because he’s on the run. Meanwhile I’m struggling to keep my head above water with nearly a year of non-payment.

Can he be served via publication for non-payment as well?

Does non-payment eventually become a felony (as another posted suggested to me)?


You can be served via publication in any action. I am not sure about felony non-payment of child support, but I do believe it is possible. We do not handle such cases, so I would refer you to Child Support Enforcement for further information.