Child Custody

Dear concerned2:

Greetings. My suggestion is to get the 14 year old into immediate counseling. Next, you should have an attorney modify the court order between your friend and his ex-wife (through a consent order) so that there is no question what is going on, if you do decide to give up hope on the 14 year old.

You can call the police to bring your children home when she does not return them. Bottom line is that she may be great to a 14 year old, and he or she may have to learn the hard way…or may never learn anything and become just like her. Schizophrenia has been known to run in families and has a high rate of suicide.

Your best bet is counseling. Take the 14, 12, and 10 year old now. Go as a family. Have the friend ask for help and loosen up the rules. Best of luck …

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

My friend has custody of his 3 kids, ages 10,12,14. They get every other weekend with their mom, and at least 2 weeks during the summer. Additional time is negotiable. The kids mother lives in a run down place with her husband, drinks irresponsibly, has been diagnosed bipolar schizophrenic. She and her spouse have DWI’s and suspended licences, but continue to drive. Neither work, they live off of a nominal social security check.

The kids get no discipline at their moms, stay up to all hours and have free run. The police are frequent visitors to their home due to domestic violence, even when the kids are visiting. They still think mom is wonderful, and dad is a tyrant since he has rules and structure in their lives.

The eldest has not been coming home after his weekends, and says he wants to live with mom. If this happens, we know that his future is ruined. But when he tries to enforce the rules and custody order, he alienates him even further. We are at the end of our rope, when he is home, he has called the police and DSS saying that he is being abused, all these charges have been investigated and dismissed.

Question: If we allow him/them to move in with mom for a “test” period of a month or two, are we voiding the current court order by our actions? Would we need to give mom child support for this time? She never has paid any type of support for any of the kids. We know that mom has no money for an attorney, and can’t see where any judge would allow her custody of any of the kids, but the kids don