Child Custody

I am not an expert and may be telling you something foolishly wrong…hopefully not. Try to avoid court. Even if you are really sure that you can “win”, I suggest trying to do so in mediation. It’s in your best interest to make sure you are being treated fairly but if she can gain anything (that you can give up), it will probably happen in mediation not court, where both sides lose. If this is possible and somewhat successful, you lower the risk that she will fire back with future court dates and you both stand to save a bundle of cash. Think about it, if she or you are really pissed w/ the outcome in court, the dissatisfaction often leads to another go around…more pain, frustration, money…

Research past judgments in the county that she moved from (and to). Look for civil case (appeals) on the subject of relocation. My guess is that a three hour change is enough that you can petition a change in custody (again, I am guessing here…). In her moving the majority YOUR CHILDREN’s parenting agreement/custody order has been damaged without your consent, or that of a judge…look for some case history. Even if it’s an appeals case from a different county.

If you move, then your plans sound helpful. They only possible way that you could be “hurt” is if you really can’t afford the move and the lifestyle of living in the new community. That could make you less financially stable (let’s assume that this is not a real issue though…). The above applies here too if she plans to truly move far away. I am wondering what exclusions exist that would allow her to remain primary but move far away /w kids…maybe a health issue or special needs that can only be met elsewhere.


Thanks for the thoughts.

One thing is certain… I don’t want to go to court. I don’t want to spend the money or experience the heartache. When going through our divorce, I chose not to take my wife to court over custody. I hoped that she would be fair with me, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I have been consistently alienated from my children by my ex. My sons, for the first 6 months after she left, had significant depression. My 7 year old was found in the school bathroom twice choking himself with a rope he had found. Another time he put a knife to his throat and threatened suicide.

My children need me - and if my ex won’t allow me to be active in their lives then I will do whatever I have to do that I believe to be in their best interests. My ex is broke. She has no savings. She does not work. She subists only on the child support I send each month. She cannot afford an attorney - at least not for very long.

My thought is that I can outspend her into compromising with me. I want her to think that she can lose EVERYTHING if she doesn’t 1) give me equal time with my children and 2) ensure that she won’t run off with them again. I don’t care if the document says I have “primary” custody. I don’t care about jargon… I care about being a good father with as much access to my children as my ex wife enjoys.

Our separation agreement says that the person responsible for paying mediation fees is the party initiating the claim - but if the parties can’t come to an agreement in mediation then the fees are split evenly. That, by itself, might be enough of a financial burden to compel her to agree to fair terms. If not, then I’ll have to go through the motions of taking the matter before the court.

Divorce sucks.

The court looks at all factors when determining what is in the best interests of your children. The more active and involved you are with your children, the better a custody hearing will go. If you are able to offer the children the stability of remaining in the same school district and location, that will certainly weigh positively in your favor.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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My ex wife moved our children 3 hours away from me. To be able to have more time and involvement with them, I am preparing to move to their town. I also intend to sue for a more equitable custody arrangement and perhaps even sue for primary custody (because she has said she will take them far away again).

Since I will be initiating custody procedings, I want my personal circumstances to be the best possible to encourage a judge to grant me custody. It is my guess that the best thing for me to do is to move into the same school district my children are currently in so that the judge will see that if primary custody is transferred to me, there will be no change in where they attend school. They will be able to attend the same church and participate in the same activites as they normally do.

Will moving very close to them be a favorable in the eye of a judge, or would my geography not matter much?

My thought is that since my ex is planning on getting married in a year and will be relocating far away again, my ability to provide the children with stability will be more favorable than the prospect of them moving again.

Please advise.