How can this happen?


Can someone tell me how a wife can drive her husband out of the household by physical altercation, change the locks, and then move with our 15 year old son to live with her parents in Florida? She makes less than $3000 per year, but how does that give her the right to take our son out of state? And although I filed upon departure, here in Wake county court, she counters saying I am at fault, and that she has moved out of the home “of necessity.” Has she abandoned the home? Do I file action for emergency custody? If that were not enough, I found porn pictures stored on her parent’s home computer…all very troubling and not getting much clarity from attorney. Any advice? Thank you.


She has not abandoned the home, and it is still marital property. I would suggest you do file for emergency custody in order to have your child returned to the jurisdiction.


Thank you. If emergency custody isn’t established in the marital state, is there risk of her establishing Florida as her residence with my son, with regard to the Kidnapping Laws?


North Carolina is the home state of the child, as that is where he has lived for the past six months. Florida will not have jurisdiction over the case unless and until all parties (including you) no longer live in NC.


Cannot believe it. Spouse has filed affidavit stating 15 yr old son is “willing” to live with mother wherever she “ends up,” whether Florida with her parents,or other end of NC, since she has no means of support.

My son believes that he has to live with her or his mom says he will be “stuck” living with me with no chance of sharing.

I am the plaintiff, filed in NC, driven from home by spouse, son is now geographically removed and alienated by mom and g-parents in FL, and I am the one doing the defending! I have “allowed” her to have my son with her 121 days there in FL and I’ve had the pleasure of 8 days with my son, but I am being “belligerent and uncooperative”! Her home in NC is still intact, bills paid, utilities on, etc…and my STBX is the “victim”?? I just don’t get this! Atty seems to be at a loss as well…


Have you been denied emergency custody?


Thanks for replying.

No, I wasn’t denied emergency custody. Atty discouraged filing such an order. He wasn’t confident that it would fly with FL county sheriff and seems to think it would be a mess, as he put it.

Son, in meantime, is being told Dad doesn’t financially support his mother or him, that “Dad left,” and grandparents reinforce it. Son is even told that Dad might try to “get” him using sheriffs and “force” him to stay with Dad, and grandparents reinforce that too. Son is now scared and no doubt will seek input with judge.

Guess emergency custody would’ve bought us more time together to reestablish clarity and trust…


You should get a different attorney. An emergency custody order doesn’t have to fly with the sheriff. NC has jurisdiction and if you need to you can make a FL court enforce that order.

If you give in, it just might be the biggest regret of your life.


I am beginning to believe you are correct. Maybe atty thinks my son is old enough to choose but is too scared to choose due to mother’s threats and intimidation, ie., convinced I’ll ruin his life. Atty is not real clear about his reasons.


That’s really for a judge to decide and maybe the judge will talk to your son and decide that but children don’t get to choose, it’s what’s best for the child and your ex doesn’t sound like she’s going to be looked upon to favorably. Even IF a judge decides that your son should stay with his mother, there are still MANY factors that need to be figured out including visitation and support.

I’d get a new attorney and immediately file for emergency custody so your son can be returned to NC. Even if you lose in the end at least you can say you did all that you could and you can show your son that you fought for him and your relationship. Don’t just think there isn’t any hope though and give up. Your ex will play the victim card no matter what but the courts can’t help you if you don’t take a stand and fight for your right to parent.


At the very least you should make an application to obtain a temporary parenting arrangement. While your son is 15, he is still a minor, and your wife and family’s behavior is the definition of alienation. You need to make the court aware of your wife’s despicable behavior as it is likely harmful to your son, and clearly not in his best interests.


Thank you, now that’s more what I’ve been thinking too. Glad to know I’m not just feeling vindictive.


I agree wholeheartedly, get a new attorney. Regardless of whether or not you are paying support, your son still has the right to see you. You need to get him back to NC soon. I understand the need to let things settle for a bit during the holidays but it’s time to get back to it. The longer this situation remains unresolved, the more difficult it will be for your son to adjust. You should keep in mind that your son is 15 and has a lot of emotion and input in this and what he considers his life. You should talk to him and let him know that you understand. You were a 15 year old boy at one time…you know your son and your stbx. My husband left the decision about whether or not to push custody to the children. Though legally, they do not have a choice, he asked them if they wanted to leave things as they were being with both parents and they said yes. That chose for him to settle for joint custody. Your son is much older than my stepsons and he has a right to decide to some extent for himself, IMHO. If you allow him that right, you may be surprised at the result. Don’t treat him as a friend or equal but let him know that his opinion matters. You don’t have to go into detail about your marriage and the causes…if he asks, let him know that part is not something he should not be worrying over. You will work out those details. What’s most important to you is that he knows you love him and want him with you. Make sure he knows how to get in touch with you. Make sure he understands what is happening with the custody. Let him know you are going to file so that he will have to come back to NC because legally, he was not supposed to leave the state. Let him know that your decision to file for custody is because you wants what is best for him…not to get back at his mother and not for you.
It’s more difficult with a teenager because they do want to believe they are included in the decisions about their life…Do what you think is best and don’t second guess. The only opinion that counts is yours and your son’s. After all, you are the only ones who will have to live with this.


Excellent advice! Thank you so much for your candid and earnest response. That really clarifies things for me as a concerned father, taking the holidays gently, and really not wishing for severe upset, but also not wanting to just roll over and be rolled over in the process. My son is truly longing for the stability of a more certain future and schedule, rather than all the uncertainty of “where” his home actually is. Very distressing for him.

My second guessing has come from my atty’s uncertainty about the temp or emerg custody effect. Getting the feeling he may not have alot of experience in this area of divorce. Wish I’d have known that sooner.

Thanks again, most helpful to hear agreement that stbx’s behavior is both despicable and downright wrong for my son’s best interest. You’ll never know how helpful these comments have been. Thank you.


You are most welcome. Keep us updated on the case. I wish you the best.


Thank you kindly, Ms. Clarey and all well wishers. I hope for good things and will keep you posted.


Here’s something else to consider…if you have filed nothing in NC, once your stbx-wife has your son in FL for 6 months as residence, FL is then the state of jurisdiction for all things custody…which means anytime you have anything that you want to go to court for regarding custody, you will have to file in FL, and will have to go to FL for court. ALSO, don’t know if you know, but Florida’s law is that you only have to be separated for 6 months to file divorce, not the year and a day that NC requires…so once your wife and child are in FL for 6 months, NC loses jurisdiction. There’s some national jurisdiction law that I can’t remember the name of…I’m sure Erin will know what I’m talking about.

If you file in NC for emergency custody or a TPA before the 6 months happens, then your wife will have to go to NC for all court hearings, and will have to wait the year and a day before she can file divorce…in NC.


Already filed here in NC, but thanks for the cautionary advice.