How to Appropriately Respond to this

Let me set this up…

  • wife and I have lived separate and apart since summer of last year…(current civil complaint - for custody and ED - in NC filed by her says Sept 1, 2009 as date of separation - but frankly I’ve been away for 1.5yrs)
  • I had the kids in another state (our 2nd home) for schools and seriously fun activities - mr. mom - by myself - for 1 1/2 yrs with them up here…fully matriculated in school…friends etc etc…
  • long story short…we grew apart…and have been for a good while.
  • I agreed to have the kiddos (3 of them) go home for their spring break in April…she kept them and they never came back…she hastily shoved them into school down in NC
  • I filed for divorce in May up here in my state…and she has a civil action for custody/etc in NC - we staked our respective corners so to speak.
  • she is now dictating my access to the kids…and is “filling up their calendar” with loads of stuff…and basically not giving me any options
  • I’m far away…and I would like them to come up for an event in our town in mid-july…she will no doubt say no and give an excuse.
  • When I said I was coming down for one of their birthdays in late june, STBX said they’re going to disney world…you kinda get the picture…I’m being shut out. she listens in on their convos with me etc etc.
  • While my STBX played a game of snatch the kids, I’m taking the high road…I just want out of the marriage…I DO desparately want to continue my role as great dad by having reasonable access to the kids (them here and me there on whatever occasions are appropriate…and I want ED of the assets…
  • if you got this email - conspicuous details blanked out of course sent to me today - how would you respond?


Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids so I wanted to let you know their summer schedule. Child 1 and Child 2 will be attending XYZ Academy Monday thru Friday beginning June 14th. They will be participating in an academic program in the morning and camp activities in the afternoon. Child 1 will be doing activity X about once-twice a week with my friend Z. She is also interested in activity Y (plans pending). Child 2 will be taking activity art lessons with the Arts Center this month and in July and August. He is interested in activities A and B as well (plans pending). Child 3 will be working odd jobs this summer. He will be doing copying, filing, sorting, etc. for me 2-3 days a week. He will be with my Dad 1 day a week and possibly washing/vaccuming cars on X’s used car lot one day a week. Child 3 is interested in taking clarinet lessons (so he can take Band next year) and piano lessons (plans pending). Y has offered to teach Child 3 golf and tennis. All three kids will be attending a sailing camp from July 12-23rd. In order to prep for camp we will all be going swimming most everyday in the evening and on the weekends. They have to be able to swim 50 yards without a life jacket before they are able to get in their sailboats. None of them can swim more than 20 feet at this time. We are leaving for Orlando two weeks from today on June 23rd. We will be staying with [friends] from June 23-28. If you have plans to come down and visit please let me know so I can add that to the calendar. Their first day of school for the 2010-2011 school year is August 25th.


  • understand something here… I am absolutely ecstatic and happy that the kids are going to do all this stuff…the stuff they’d do up here is what kids dreams are made of frankly-so I’m glad they’re not sitting around playing the wii all summer long down there…and note how she assumes that they’re gonna be in school down in NC when I’m fighting for jurisdiction up here right now with the courts.

but under these circumstances where she has the kids in her possession…we’re separated but not divorced yet…and she’s strong arming me about making my schedule fit the schedule she has established for the kids…what can I do that isn’t snatch-the-kids scenario so some attorneys would say to do…I’m not like that and it’s not in the interest of the kids…but I want to exert my influence as their dad…and be free to come down there and take them whereever and whenever to have fun…

  • also understand that she is hell-bent on scorching the earth around me…and attempting to destroy my relationship with the kids…by blaming me for the marriage’s failure… the “I love daddy, but your daddy doesn’t love me, and he’s chosen to not be with us anymore…” was actually said to the kids…nice light I’m in now huh…

  • long winded as hell here… but I’m not going to cause a scene in front of the kids…I have employed a low/no contact policy with her because I need my sanity…

  • what would you do mr/ms. lawyer if you were me…how would you forcefully but tactfully assert your rights in a situation like this…I want them to come up but I know she’ll say no way…I feel like I couldn’t even take them to busch gardens by myself over her hysterical objections… she obviously fears that I would do the same thing she did to me…even though I would never…because this isn’t about the kids…it’s between her and I …and i just want out…and do the right thing by my kids…and get ED of what we have accumulated…

I’m deeply saddened by all this…but I’m in a better place for the decision I’ve made…and in time my kids will hopefully see that my happiness is beneficial to them too.

Thanks for any advice…I need it from wayy up north hehe.

In my opinion jurisdiction in NC is improper. The children lived with you in your home state for the past year and a half, and the evidence concerning the children’s lives is largely present in your state. You need to get an Order from your state regarding jurisdiction and follow the procedures your state provides for the children’s return.

Yes…that is definitely the way I’m proceding…jurisdictionally speaking…
however, with respect to my question, I’m looking for a decent / reasonable / sensible piece of advice regarding the way to approach her “crowding me out” of the kids summer schedule…
trust me…she talked up a whirlwind schedule just for bravado’s purpose…but in all practicality she works a lot of hours and will likely be moving the kids around from one air-conditioned place to the next during the summer weekdays…
I want to be firm with her about my rights to making my own plans for the kids (them to come up here and me to go down there when I can this summer) …but I want to make sure the law is on my side…because understand that she is prone to bouts of hysteria…hehe
I can roll over and play dead regarding this until a potentially long process fleshes itself out…or be a jerk and cause a scene by playing snatch the kids (like she did)… but the sensible thing is something in the middle.
what is your middle ground advice if she is, shall I say, the schoolyard bully.


need that other post answered…but I have a question about what you said regarding jurisdiction…
I “filed” for divorce up here the day after she told me she played snatch the kids…
however I didn’t actually file the case (stupid me) that day
…rather got the divorce complaint and summons and sent it her…the clerk in my county up here didn’t do what I thought she was going to do…and so
the case hadn’t gotten docketed on that day.
I sent the papers to her via FedEx (and stupid me again)…but didn’t actually get a signature… I was totally disheveled/desparate about the whole thing and that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it

  • as they say the devil is in the details…
    so anyway…she did actually acknowledge getting the papers but they weren’t properly “served” to her…
    she didn’t know this…but rather ran to an attorney and they probably got to talking about the manner in which I sent them to her…so he immediately filed a civil action in NC for custody.
    days later I met with an attorney and we realized that I hadn’t actually docketed the case because of bad communication with the clerk in my county
    …so while I beat her to the punch with the divorce complaint…I really didn’t because it wasn’t actually FILED before hers was down here.
    we got it filed days later and she was properly served…but now, by the calendar’s tale of the tape, she beat me to the punch.
    question is does this really matter from an NC standpoint? especially when the kids have been living up in my state for 1.5 yrs…they were residents here etc etc…
    I mean seriously…does the court play beat the clock with this type of stuff? my papers are dated and signed by me on the 28th of April but not FILED on the 28th - hers were dated the 29th and FILED.
    Am I going to lose the right to have this heard up here just because of a technicality?
    Is there an overarching argument that I could make that would downplay this?
    you guys are awesome! thanks!!

All I can provide is legal advice, and legally you are entitled to have your children with you as much as she does, that being said I do understand the sensitivity of the issue and appreciate the fact that you are putting the children first in searching for a peaceful resolution to the summer issue. It may be a good idea for you to spend some time in NC, if your schedule allows, and be a part of some of their summer activities, otherwise I suggest you remain firm that you would like “x” number of weeks, and carve them out for yourself. There is no summer activity or camp that is more important that seeing the other parent.

As for the filing issue, jurisdiction is proper in your state, as it has been the home state of the children (based on the facts I know), jurisdiction is not based on who was first to file where, but rather what is proper.

sl_dad…you may want to research “parental alienation syndrome” on the internet. There may be some suggestions on dealing with the non-legal aspects of your situation.

Keep whatever contact you can with your kids…if the mom won’t let you see them, while you are fighting for them, write letters to them, make copies, send one to them and send one to yourself (so it is postmarked). This way you will always have a record for the kids later on that you’ve never stopped fighting for them and that you love them.

My fiance’s ex isn’t quite as bad as yours but also pulls the “your dad left us and abandonned us” routine (he didn’t, she asked for the divorce, and he said yes). It’s a constant competition for the kids, which has been detrimental to their well-being. I feel for you. It isn’t easy.

Ok…so at least the courts in my state have agreed with me, as they’ve issued an order for a custody hearing up here as they’ve determined that “my” state is the home state for the kiddos. They’ve asked for all the pleadings etc from the NC civil action that my spouse filed down in NC…

This is my question.

I have not “answered” the complaint in NC… I have only filed for, an been granted an extension of 30 days…which is up on the 12th of this July.

Because of the court order up here in my state, do I have to even bother spending time/resources answering her complaint in NC?

I obviously don’t want to even entertain the NC action anymore if I don’t have to…
but the complaint she filed initially for child custody was amended to include equitable distribution of assets…so do I still need to entertain her action down in NC? even if my “answer” is a motion to dismiss the complaint because of the recent court order up here? as you know from reading the initial passage, I can’t file for a divorce in NC because I’m not a resident there. And I filed for divorce here…and she did not file for a divorce there in NC, only a complaint for custody and ED of assets.

You should file an answer that denies jurisdiction, with respect to Custody and E.D. and noting else. I suggest you attach a copy of the Order from your state which shows the determination of that state as the home state of the children.

an extended question to what you just said…

the order from my state only addresses the jurisdiction of the custody aspect…

I am putting together my answer to the NC complaint as opposing jurisdiction in nc pursuant to NC Gen 12(b) 1

My question is does the fact that my state issued an order for the custody, does that mean it somehow should include the ED of assets as well?

my opposition to jurisdiction over the kids is clear…because of the order by my state…

but what about the ED of assets? what should I say regarding that? … is it possible that my state would deal with my divorce and the custody…and then NC deal with the ED of assets?

I want to make sure my answer is comprehensive and opposes EVERYTHING in her civil action against me in NC (custody AND property…)

thanks and if you can answer quickly most appreciated!!

If the assets are in NC, then ED will be proper in this state.

assets are in NC and in my state (house and items here, house and items in NC)
should I still seek to dismiss due to lack of jurisdiction? on what basis could I, if there are assets in NC?

No, ED is proper in NC and you should file a counterclaim for property distribution.