Child custody problems - relinquishing custody

According to the terms of the separation agreement, the parents are to split custody of the children 50/50. Child support is to be paid by the father to the mother until the children are 18 or graduate high school, whichever is later.

Lately the eldest teenager (age 17) has become increasingly out of control and aggressive. The mother has threatened on several occasions to throw him out of her house and send him to live with us full time permanently (all over the phone of course) as she cannot control him and she’s become frightened of him. (Although oddly enough, she’s recently started paying for boxing lessons for him!) We told her that we support her decision if she chose to send him to us because she couldn’t handle him any more. Discussions were had by both mother and father where they agreed that things had gotten so bad that they might either need to a.) send him to military school or b.) emancipate him.

Recently, the teenager shoved and took a swing at his own father, so we asked him to pack his things to go live with his mother full time as we couldn’t tolerate such behaviour under our roof and felt that it was damaging and dangerous not only to us, but also to his younger siblings.

Now the mother is threatening legal action against us to take full custody of the remaining children on the grounds that if we were so temperamental as to send him back to his mother’s, she felt that we were irresponsible and dangerous to the other siblings because we might ‘snap at any moment and toss them out of the house too’.

1.) Can she do this and possibly succeed?
2.) Can we be forced to maintain half custody for a violent teen?
3.) Do we have a good countersuit to pursue full custody of the other siblings for their own safety should the teen’s behaviour persist?


I don’t believe your decision to send an aggressive teen away from your home is any basis to modify (lessen) custody with respect to the other children, and the court cannot force you to have your 17 year old live with you full time. The court must set a custody order in place while keeping in mind the best interests of the child. Living in your home is not in his best interests based on these facts.

As for the other children, if the eldest continues to live with his mother and poses a danger to the other children the court can modify custody.

Thanks, Erin.

Originally we were willing to take the teen full-time if the mother evicted him from her house in the interests of hoping that he had learned his lesson and that his behaviour could be modified. Now we’ve come to realize that he poses a potential physical danger to everyone in the house and his actions are uncontrollable. I am curious, though, that you say that it wouldn’t be in HIS best interests to live in our home. Definitely, it wouldn’t be in the other children’s best interests to have him stay in our home. Would it be considered that the needs of the other children outweigh the desires of the mother and possibly of the teen? As no one can control him or discipline him, what can be legally done with such a child who is still technically a minor?

I say it is not in the child’s best interest to live in your home because of the confrontation in the past. The needs and safety of the other children certainly override the desires of their mother. If he is a danger to the family he can be forced out of the home.


You are welcome. I wish you all the best.

Sorry to ask for more help, but I need some more guidance. The ex has said that due to the conflict she wants to reconfigure child support, yet in addition to pay stubs, she is requesting our lease agreement between each other. Since all things were decided custody/alimony/ED-wise via a SA that was filed with the divorce, the only possible reason I can think of for her to ask for this is because she’s hoping to rewrite the entire SA and try to rejigger alimony. So, my questions are these:

1.) What would be other causes for her to petition to increase her alimony, given that she went from imputed income to actaully working at a higher rate, post-divorce?
2.) Is there anything under the law in NC, that would prevent or limit somone from having custody of their kids if there was no lease agreement at the place where custody is held by that parent?
3.) Since she’s receiving her residence rent-free from her parents (market cost @ $1500/mth), when does that count as income? I think it does for alimony, but does it for child support?

I’d rather not disclose a lease agreement or any other financial information than is absolutely necessary to her since she has proven to be so vindictive, and I know that refusal to comply with her request may incite her to mayhem. She’s already angling for something besides balancing the child support for the change in custody, but I’m just not sure what.

If alimony is contained in a Separation Agreement it is non-modifiable, unless the Agreement specifically provides for the same.

The lease has no effect on custody.

Income of any kind is considered in child support, so her parents contribution should be considered.

Thanks so much, Erin. You’ve been a great help.

You are very welcome.