Did my ex-wife just commit extortion?

Well, I have a very troubling and interesting situation. This involves child custody and not necessarily divorce but I would love your opinion or advice please.

Right now my ex-wife has temporary custody of our three children due to a misunderstanding that resulted in me getting arrested for domestic violence and therefore the kids taken away from me temporarily. She is going for 100% custody in court. We usually have 50/50%.

The trial starts January 30.

We were arguing and she took her phone out and put it in my face in begin recording me and yelling that she was going to have me arrested if didn’t leave, and out of instinct and impulse, I tried to grab the phone to turn it off. Kind of like if you have a remote control from the TV in your hand in your friend or buddy or whatever tries to grab it from you, that’s what it was like for about 5 to 10 seconds and then I just left.

She had me arrested for assault on a female but they’re dropping the charges once I complete this program which is just basically a Zoom meeting. She also took out a restraining order on me to stay away from her. It was pretty much built on fiction, lies she sort of made up at the last minute in order to secure the order. Then she made her move with the civil summons and tried to take all three kids.

I’m seeing my kids every other weekend and very confident we’re gonna go back to 50/50. I have no criminal record, she’s been putting me in a position to possibly get arrested by trying to persuade me to be near her in situations where I could violate my restraining order.

So, here’s what happened. We were about to finalize a new version of our temporary custody order, where I would see my children every other weekend and every Wednesday, and this will be a temporary agreement until we go to trial or until someone changes their mind and we settle beforehand, etc.

It’s inevitable that we will be back to 50-50. But anyway, my ex-wife made an offer which took me a couple of weeks to do because I had to think it over, and I signed and it was emailed over to me to sign. This was the last hour of the last business day before the lawyers begin their Christmas break. They later they ended up staying that way.

It’s inevitable that we will bite back and 50-50. But anyway, I accepted the ex-wife’s offer, which took me a couple of weeks to do because I had to think it over,

Also part of the offer, since it was Christmas, I was going to have my kids stay over for three days and two nights in the middle of the week in a special situation, and we had a major Christmas extravaganza planned with all kinds of trips to the attractions around here and have a big Christmas slumber party. My 10 year-old twin boys were so excited for all of this.

But at the 11th hour, she demanded $3,000, and put that into the offer. If I give her $3,000, then she will move forward with the agreement. Also, since there’s a restraining order against me, if I give her $3,000, that is considered a gift…… a major violation of the restraining order and I would be arrested.

So she held my children hostage pretty much, and I believe this was extortion. Basically she said’”you cannot have your children for Christmas unless you pay me $3,000, which also means you will be violating a restraining order and will likely be arrested.

She says the money would be for child support, but she’s very well aware that you just have to go down to the courthouse to file for emergency child support, and make arrangements to have that money help hold you over until the final child custody rules are set either at the end of the trial or during a mediation.

She has to go through the court in order to apply and obtain the emergency child support money, she can’t go around the court and ask the defendant, her ex-husband, to just give her money, and again, I will be violating a restraining order by giving her money.

On top of that, there are no receipts or a spreadsheet with numbers or anything at all to prove that this money was for child support.

Even if she did present me with a list of items, that means nothing because we have to go through the court.

So I said no I can’t hand you $3,000, you have to go through the court. And she held her ground and refused, and I missed my children. We did not get to have our three day Christmas extravaganza. And they are devastated.

A major addition to that, just two days earlier, she violated the temporary court order by not bringing my kids to the visitation center to see me. She skipped it. Then this situation, where she takes them away for three more days unless I pay her $3,000 and risk arrest.

I don’t want to have my ex-wife arrested, I want her to drop this ridiculous child custody case so we can go back to 50/50.

My question is, does this seem like extortion, I think by definition it certainly is, and if I went to the police station and filed charges, I do believe she would have a warrant out to be arrested.

I mean she’s basically saying, you can’t see your kids unless you give me $3,000 and risk arrest. That’s pretty extortion sounding to me.

Also, she can be arrested for violating the court order, by not letting me see my children on visitation day.

I’m trying to use this as leverage to say “drop the case or right now or I’m gonna have you arrested for these violations.”

Doing what I can in this war so we can be successful at co-parenting again by using a therapist to help us, and to get my kids’ lives back to normal.

I guess just after reading this please let me know any pointers or advice you may have.

I’m also wondering if I can score 100% legal custody by going to the courthouse and filing for it, considering all of this information that I have, which does not look good.

Should I take this info to the courthouse and go for a 100% legal/50% physical just on a temporary basis? Or do I threaten to file charges for violating the restraining order and trying to extort me unless she drops this custody case and we take it out of the courts and solve this in mediation like we should be doing?

Any thoughts/comments are appreciated!

Thank you

The mother cannot withhold visitation and it will not look good on her part if the judge hears that she conditioned payment of $3,000, especially if there was no justification for this sum, on visitation with the children. Nonpayment of child support or any other sum is not a reason to withhold children from the other parent.

If you have a court order of any kind that states when you are supposed to see the minor children and she did not comply, then she is in violation of the court order and you can file a show cause/contempt motion against her, especially if her actions caused you and the children to miss a court ordered visitation/custodial time.

It is unlikely you, or her, will receive full/exclusive legal custody, based on the information you’ve provided.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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