My friend is going through a very bitter divorce/custody battle with his ex-wife.
Last year, she moved the children (5 of them) over 3 hours away from their father without his knowledge or permission. She enrolled them in school and they have been involved in many activities.
Because he was unable to get his court ordered visitation because she moved so far away, he chose to move to be closer to them. He moved to a neighboring town and was able to see his children on a semi-regular basis (she has always been difficult with visitation). A court ruling has yet to have been made regarding her contempt of court for withholding his visitation and moving the kids so far away without permission.
This morning, he got a text message from her stating that she had moved the children, yet again, back to the original place they were living (over 3 hours away). He had no knowledge of this until after the fact. She told him that they are in school and are happy.
This is an ongoing thing with her (she took them and moved clear across the country once and was threatened with jail if she didn’t bring them back). She continues to move around, uprooting the children with no rhyme or reason.
Can he get an ex parte custody order and get his children back? Now that she has moved again, he won’t be able to see them without great difficulty, and as past behavior predicts, he won’t see them for quite some time because she will make it as difficult as possible.
What can he do right now, today, to get his children back? She is in Alamance County (as of right now) and he lives in Brunswick County, but will travel to Alamance if necessary to get his children back.
In my opinion this case is not appropriate for an emergency action. Your friend needs to filed another motion for contempt, and get it on the calendar asap.
A change of venue was motioned for by him (Plaintiff) in order to move the case to Brunswick County since that is where she and the children and him are all now living (until today).
Changing the venue would make her lose her attorney, so we belive the only reason she moved back is to keep her lawyer.
She has done this over and over again, and nothing is ever done to her because of it. It is hard to believe there is nothing he can do about this but sit back and wait, yet again. Meanwhile, his children’s lives are repeatedly turned upside down.
If the motion to change venue was granted, the case will proceed in his county.
The hearing for the change of venue hasn’t been held yet. It is scheduled in a couple of weeks. I’m guessing that it will not be granted now that she has moved (conveniently after the motion was filed).
Is there a chance that the motion would still be granted?
Yes, I believe so, especially given the facts.
Thank you, Erin.
All he wants to do is be with his children. So far, she has made that extremely difficult for him at every turn. There have been numerous contempt charges filed against her for withholding visitation, but nothing is ever done about it. She seems to be able to get away with whatever she wishes, meanwhile, the children are suffering by not even being able to stay in one location or school for more than a few months because she continues to uproot them and move whenever the mood strikes her.
He is really hoping to get this change of venue granted in his favor. This has gone on long enough and something needs to be done to give these children some stability and peace.
Thanks again for your help.
You are welcome, I wish your friend all the best.