Mediation and ex parte question


#1

If a couple that is seperated is going to custody mediation for the first time, do they have to agree on something at that meeting or can they go back if they can’t find an immediate agreement? Go back to mediation, not in front of a judge.

Also, if one parent after being denied visitation of the child gets the child and the child has not had a bath in 3 weeks would that count as neglect and could the parent file an ex parte or emergency order to get the child?


#2

Usually, you can return to custody mediation, but that will depend on your county and whether they have the resources to accommodate an additional mediation session prior to the scheduled court date.

The statute governing the entry of an emergency custody order states:

A temporary order for custody which changes the living arrangements of a child or changes custody shall not be entered ex parte and prior to service of process or notice, unless the court finds that the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse or that there is a substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts.

Not bathing for 3 weeks does sound like it would fit under the Chapter 7B definition of a neglected juvenile:

A juvenile who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker; or who has been abandoned; or who is not provided necessary medical care; or who is not provided necessary remedial care; or who lives in an environment injurious to the juvenile’s welfare; or who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law.

You may not be able to get an emergency custody order, but if you are concerned and want immediate involvement of the courts, you should consider contacting child protective services to get them involved with making sure this child is properly cared for. If the neglect is bad enough, they will file a petition for custody and may change the underlying custody order. If they do not get involved, you should consider filing a motion to modify custody and argue that the improper care constitutes a substantial change in circumstances warranting a change in the custody order.