Custody / Mediation

My child’s father and I have never been married but were in a dating relationship that dissolved approx. 14 weeks into my pregnancy with our child. He has not made contact with the child in almost 3 years, but recently threatened to pick the child up from daycare and withhold him if I did not terminate the Voluntary Support Agreement and Order. As a result, I filed a Custody Complaint and scheduled Mediation Orientation. He contacted the Mediator indicating that he had nothing to say and would NOT participate. In North Carolina, Custody Mediation is mandatory; of course, if it does not result in an agreement, the case goes before a Judge. At this point, I am set for Court in a couple of weeks and am curious about what happens next.

  1. Will my child’s father be held in contempt for refusing Mediation?
  2. What if he doesn’t come to Court, will I automatically receive an Order?
  3. If he does come to Court, will the Judge hold him accountable for being non-compliant with Mediation?
  4. How do Judges typically handle matters of Visitation in a bizarre case like this… will my child be forced to visit with him (like a stranger) without supervision or will they implement a way for my child to be introduced and build a relationship?
  5. If granted sole legal and physical custody, would I be permitted to initiate a legal name change for my child without the consent of his father (mind you, he does pay child support)?

Thanks for your answers in advance; loved the Webinar and all resources available here!!!

The following is Rule 5 of the Mediated Settlement Conference Rules of Procedure:

“Any person required to attend a mediated settlement conference or to pay a portion of the mediator’s fee in compliance with N.C.G.S. § 7A 38.1 and the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court of North Carolina (Supreme Court) to implement that section who fails to attend or to pay without good cause, shall be subject to the contempt powers of the court and monetary sanctions imposed by a resident or presiding superior court judge. Such monetary sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the payment of fines, attorney fees, mediator fees, expenses and loss of earnings incurred by persons attending the conference.”

I cannot speak to what a judge would order; after hearing all of the evidence the judge will make a decision based on the best interest of your child. If the judge thinks that supervised visitation is in your child’s best interest, the judge will order such. You cannot change the child’s name without your child’s father’s consent.

Thank you for the clarification; I greatly appreciate your assistance.