Custody Modification

You aren’t the one responsible for requesting modification, she would be. Have you kept documentation of the visitations that she did not keep? Have you kept records of any child support that she paid? I would take any records that you have with you to court including the original document. Did the original order state that you were to inform her if you were going to move? How long after you moved did she file? If you used your cell phone to call, you could have record of when you called to inform her. Document everything that you can remember on a calendar if possible.
Basically, this is a custody dispute. What you need is pictures of rooms, neighborhoods and schools. Let the court see what the children’s lives are like with you. If there has been no drastic change in your life other than the move, and the move wouldn’t make a drastic change in visitations since she did not use them consistently. That’s why you need to document when she didn’t use her visits to show the court that your move is not going to make that much of an impact. In answer to her custody, child support claim you would have your attorney file a contempt for her missing child support payments. Her missing her weekend was not because you refused to let her have her visit right?

I do have documentation of many of the visits…or lack of. Concerning the child support, documentation is in the bank statements (deposits made). She is supposed to carry insurance on our kids as well as pay half of all medical/dental expenses incurred. She has done neither. Our orders do not state anything about moving or notification of a move, though I can see the notification as being “common sense”. She decided to serve me the day before our move, though she knew of the move for over a month. I have never purposefully kept her from seeing the kids. My wife and I go out of our way to ensure they have a good relationship. It’s frustrating when you do all you can in an attempt to keep any animosity down to a minimum…it’s not good for all involved…thus the reason I have not pursued any CS/Medical prior to this. Have I been too lenient? Will her past irresponsibility come back to haunt her or will it haunt me for allowing it to go on this long? If she has refused to take any responsibility in the past (financially speaking), would a judge grant her custody? I could see if the children were neglected, abused or anything of that nature, but this is not the case at all…

Thank you for your reply…

abbas abbatis

One thing I’m unclear on…she served you on the day before you moved and in the complaint it stated that she wasn’t informed of the move until THAT day? How in the world did she get the papers through so quickly? My husband’s lawyer sent him a copy of the papers a week before his ex was served so that he could make sure nothing needed to be changed. Something about that doesn’t seem right…
Regardless, make sure to take the original documentation where you were awarded custody to court. In answer to her contempt clain for missing a weekend you should answer that by showing that she refused that visitation. If she is proven to be lying to the courts it’s going to have an impact on everything else she says in court and any claims she files. The courts are going to want to hear everything. Hopefully, an attorney will respond to this also but I believe that your ex will have to show cause for custody to change after 5 years. She will need to show the courts why it would be better for her to have custody while you are showing the courts that she didn’t follow the original court order and that the children are not going to benefit from this lifestyle change. You don’t want to try to show her to be a terrible mother, you only need to show that you are the more stable choice to retain custody. The attorney can bring up that you did not file against her for missing child support payments as most parents would and have not refused her visitations or contact. I believe that once custody is decided in a court order, it takes a lot to change them. If one parent is refusing contact to the other, or their life changes so that they are no long able or willing to care for the children and the other parent is able and or willing. I would think that under these circumstances, you don’t have a lot to worry about but you should retain an attorney and take all documentation you have for them to do with what they will.

Yes…I found that funny as well. It was a notarized letter from her attorney stating that I would be in contempt if we moved, given to me when she picked up the kids before we left. It also states that she wasn’t aware of the move until the day before we moved, which I also find strange…how do you get a letter written by an attorney, hand it to me in a “cloak and dagger” fashion without having prior knowledge of the situation? That really doesn’t surprise me though, she acted similar when we separated. She had the opportunity to have the kids the entire week prior to our move but refused. Many opportunities were passed up over the years for, what I call, selfish reasons.

Thanks again for your reply…

abbas abbatis

I feel your pain but all you have to do is go to court with whatever documentation you have no matter what she say about you stay calm and civil because if she acts like most women when things don’t go their way she will show her ass in court and the judge will see it. But don’t get caught up in the drama she gonna try to produce. Very important don’t say nothing negative about her on talk about what you know for a fact about her visitation with the children. and watch that sweet innocent woman turn into a derranged beast.

Trust me the **** really works

I agree…be calm and confident. No matter what is said, do not lose your temper. The judge actually called my husband’s ex down in the courtroom for making comments about me and laughing at inappropriate times. A letter from an attorney about you being in contempt for moving if the custody order doesn’t say anything about it may just be a scare tactic…

Believe it or not, this will come back to her down the road. She seems to be trying to make your life difficult. Her not visiting her children is her loss. You have raised them and been there for them and they will remember that. Good luck and keep us posted about the outcome!

Dear abba abbatis:

Greetings. First, it seems like you need to counterclaim for child custody modification and not simply go to court and sit back waiting for her to complain. You also appear to want some changes. Thanks

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


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.

I have some questions and welcome any comments, positive or not. I was awarded custody of my children in 2002 and have since moved out of NC. My ex has recently filed for custody, child support, etc., referencing our relocation. Our original order does not say anything concerning a geographic restriction and we didn’t move on a whim or for no reason at all. I am remarried and we have a daughter together, my two sons, and my wife’s eldest daughter and son living with us. I realize now that I should have requested a modification of visitation, however, my ex never said anything prior to the day before we were moving. She has not gone by a visitation schedule, nor has she paid any child support on a consistent basis. She filed a contempt charge for her missing a weekend, which again she did not have a problem with the weekends she missed. What should I bring with me to court, what will the court be willing to hear/accept? I spoke with her on the phone a month before we moved and informed her of our intent, and even asked if she wanted to have the boys stay with her the week prior to our relocation…she refused, but yet she filed a motion for contempt stating that I informed her the day prior to our move that we were moving…does that make any sense?

Any comments/advice is appreciated…

abbas abbatis