Incarcerated ex-husband

I would greatly appreciate any advice that I can get. I was divorced Sept 2017. This was not a typical divorce. My ex-husband turned into an abusive monster in what seemed like over night. To make a long story short…I got sole and exclusive custody of our now 14 year old and 9 year old. It was written in our separation papers that my ex-husband could have supervised visitation with the kids. The visitation was to occur in my home…needless to say that didn’t go well. I had to go and get a DVO restraining order against him due to abuse. An amended separation agreement was signed where he could see the kids through SCAN. He also had to complete therapy and his therapist was to sign that he was mentally fit to be around the kids. He did not follow through with either. Several months later he was arrested for motor vehicle larceny and dealing drugs. He is currently in prison and will get out in 4 months.

The last time he seen the kids was when he broke into my home. Didn’t say a word to them…he was there to see what he could steal. He hasn’t attempted contact except for one letter full of “this isn’t my fault” whining. He tried calling me at work (I didn’t answer). Now he is writing my attorney (who has passed away but he doesn’t know that) demanding his rights as a father when he gets out and wants a relationship with them. My 14 year old wants nothing to do with him. The kids therapist says the kids should have no contact with him.

I want to go for a new DVO that includes the kids. My new attorney says I have no grounds because he hasn’t threatened us yet. He is not safe and I feel I need something put into place before he gets out…I know he will be on my doorstep when he gets out. I have had to call the police before when he would show up but the police just advise me to get a restraining order. In your opinion would I be able to get one and what should I do when he demands his parental rights and wants to have contact with the kids?

You can get a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) if your ex-husband (1) attempts to cause or intentionally causes bodily injury, (2) places you or your children in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, or (3) places you or your children in fear of continued harassment.

Since your ex-husband is in prison now and does not pose a danger to you right now, it is unlikely that you would be successful in obtaining a DVPO at this time. If he is released from prison and shows up at your house or you otherwise feel in danger, call 911 immediately.

As to custody and visitation, you should follow the terms of your separation agreement. The separation agreement is likely a binding contract so he cannot make up his own custodial terms and demand that you agree to them.

Anna Ayscue

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

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