I did it! Now what?

This is a terribly sad situation. I’m glad that you found the courage to do what you needed to do for you and your children.
If there is no court order or agreement for custody then you should actually have joint custody. NC defaults to joint legal custody if there is nothing stating otherwise. Most of the time, the parent who is the primary caregiver is considered to have custody in situations like this, especially since you are the only parent available for the majority of the time.
Normally, CSE would follow the guidelines and if he has been paying a certain amount that sets a precedence for the amount he will pay. Make sure that you keep records of these payments…you never know when you will need them.
If their father is indeed an alcoholic then counseling is the best thing to do. There is little that can be done about him but you can give them the tools to “deal” with that situation. You should also consider finding a local Al-Anon meeting for friends and family of alcoholics.
The 4 year old is likely not to remember much about this time, thankfully. I was 3-4 when my father remarried and I have no recollections of my parents together. If they are going anywhere with him over any length of time, make sure that the 16 year old has a way to reach you or money for transportation in the event that it’s necessary. I applaud your efforts to make sure that the children see their father but you also need to make sure that they know how to reach you at all times. With a true alcoholic, there is no way to reason with them. You must know when to walk away from a situation in order to save yourself. Your oldest must understand that though he may be angry at you, you are his mother and he needs to make sure that he understands that though they may be in his father’s custody during those weekends, he is responsible for himself and his sibiling (brother).
As far as the oldest goes, this is partly to do with age. He’s 16. Every 16 year old hates their parents for one reason or another…be supportive but be firm in rules. Encourage him to talk to you or the counselor but make sure that he understands that this is not his fault and he can not do anything to change it. This is not his problem to fix and he has enough on his plate already from the sound of it.
The Alienation of Affection…is costly and time consuming to pursue…if he can’t afford a home, it’s unlikely that he can afford an attorney to pursue this matter. He also will have an issue of being on the road during the week which will make court dates almost impossible. It sounds as though he’s blowing smoke.
Good Luck!

Thank you so much for your advice and thoughts. I don’t think I ever realized that something I know is really a great thing in our lives (starting over) could be so difficult. Everyone who knows me, from family to friends, is cheering me on. But, sometimes it feels like the sand is closing over my head!

I will get to CSE to get the child support ordered so that I don’t have to worry about that ending. I will speak to the therapist about the best way to deal with these issues with the kids. I love my kids so much, and sometimes I feel guilty that, while I think I’m doing the right thing, I’m rocking their worlds.

Thanks for the AOA thoughts. I just needed to hear someone else say that![:D] 11 months, 3 weeks and 6 days from a divorce. Not that I’m counting.

If you go to child support enforcement then your spouse will need to pay the amount required by the guidelines. He can file a motion to deviate from the guidelines, but considering he has established a pattern of paying the guideline amount, it will not be granted unless there is some extenuating circumstance.

I am sorry to hear about your son. I think you are doing the right thing by putting your children in counseling. There is also nothing wrong with telling your children that you love them and your relationship with their father has nothing to do with your love for them.

Generally, Alienation of Affection claims are not successful when the relationship occurred after the date of separation. However, given the current law, technically he could bring a case.

I wish you the best of luck.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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Thank you so much for all your advice. Now, other questions. I finally moved out of the home my STBX and I had shared with our 2 children (16 and 4). As you probably remember, my STBX is a long distance truck driver, and while I’d asked him for a separation about 16 months ago, and he and I were taking different weekends in the house, he wouldn’t establish a new address, so we weren’t ever really separated. After realizing that the only way to get the year and a day started for my divorce, I got the courage up to actually move into a little apartment. I gave up the house (which was month to month), and he can’t afford it.

Here are the questions:

  • He has been giving me checks weekly that amount to the child support calculator amount. But, he refuses to sign anything. How do I go about getting actual custody? He isn’t around Sunday afternoons to Friday evenings, and told me this weekend that his address would have to be his truck since he can’t afford to live anywhere else, so he will have to take the kids to a hotel on the weekends he has them. My 16 year old would prefer to not live with either of us, as he hates us both now, but I don’t see an option to that, and that’s a whole different story. Our 16 year old has been in the hospital with life threatening problems 3 times in the last 2 years and I was unable to get ahold of my STBX any of those times (didn’t answer cellphone til next day).
  • We haven’t had a marriage in years, haven’t had sexual relations in 5 1/2 years, haven’t slept in the same room in 10 years, etc. He is trying to claim AOA since I’ve met someone. I’ve told him that he has to prove that there was affection to alienate, and I’ve already gotten statements from 5 people who knew both of us best that there has been no affection in years. (just background info…)
  • If I go to CSE to have child support enforced, will they make him pay the amount on the calculator, or do I have to worry about that amount being reduced? If it’s not going to be that amount, I’ll just have to wait until he stops volunterly paying it to go to CSE.
  • He’s a non-recovering alcoholic (supposedly hasn’t had a drink in 3 years, but never dealt with it), but I’ve received drunk messages from him. I kept them saved. He’s called our 4 year old in this condition. Lately, every time our 4 year old talks or sees him, he cries and cries and then starts acting out. My STBX has told the 4 year old in front of me that this is mommies fault that we don’t all live together and that if his mommy loved him (the 4 year old) I’d let daddy move back in. I don’t want my kids in the middle, and have tried to make sure that they talk and see him all they can. I make doubly sure that nothing ever comes out of my mouth about their dad. But, they are being hurt now (my 16 year old completely hates me, but doesn’t want to live with his dad - assuming his dad ever had a place to live). I’ve got them both in counseling. What else should I do?

Thank you so much for your advice, all of you!