My x-husband's rights


#1

I also want to clarify about the child support I was able to have legally ordered…the way that was done was that I went to the Welfare office and they went after the support on behalf of my kids so that we wouldn’t receive welfare. He technically pays North Carolina for the support, not me.
I don’t know if that matters, but I wanted to be clear.

Thanks!


#2

Since you have had primary physical and legal custody for all 3 children since the time of separation and divorce, you have every right to decide how best to handle this. Even though your papers state that you would settle things between you, which would normally mean joint legal custody, you have still have by default primary legal and physical custody. The court is not going to fault you for being a little cautious about allowing him to come back into their lives with his history. You can allow phone calls and limit visits if you choose. You could limit any visits to be at a public place near your home with you present, since he lives out of state. Set stipulations that he can NOT be drinking at this time.

If the ex does contact the children, allow them to speak with him and then see what happens next. It may be that he never calls…and it could end up that he calls, the children talk to him and you never hear from him again. It may have been a phone call just to “feel out” the situation also.
Visitations and child support are separate matters to the court.


#3

What does the court order say about phone contact?

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

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

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#4

Thank you for your replies…

There is no court order, and there never was. We never addressed it - I had the kids, and he started drinking heavily and getting arrested and spending time in jail (briefly). He hasn’t tried contacting them in 3 years - even longer.

If he were to suddenly start demanding contact with them, and even visits with them, does he have a legal right to that based on his history of neglect, irresponsibility, and domestic violence? Would we start fresh as if we just divorced, or would the courts look at his past behavior?

THANKS!

PS - And thanks to Stepmother for her always clear perspective and helpful advice :slight_smile:

Lisa Diane Trifone


#5

If this were to go to court it would be looked at as if custody has never been decided. Yes, the court would look at his past history as well as the arrangement that has been in place since your divorce. He would still have the right to visit and contact the children but it maybe that the courts would confirm your standing as primary custodial parent giving you the right to decide best situation for the children.
If the situation is that you do not believe the ex has the will or money to take this to court, then I suggest you presume the right to dictate what you believe is best for your children as you have been doing. It’s not a good idea to NOT allow contact, but it can be limited at your discretion. As I said, the ex may not ever call. Your ex hasn’t drank in months…big deal. That doesn’t mean that he’s ready to take on 3 children, especially teenagers who are probably very angry…
My ex quit drinking and drugs for 6 weeks after he lost his home and vehicle. He moved in with a relative…but since his life did not miraculously turn around for him, he reverted back to his old habits. He expected that though it took him 12 years to get where he was, as soon as he stopped drinking and drugs it should start to improve.

You do what you think is best for your children. I don’t suggest shielding them from this situation because they have the right to know that their father has asked about contacting them, but they also need to know that his history makes it doubtful that he will be rushing to get involved in their lives the way they hope. I’m not suggesting that you talk badly about their father, just that they do not get their hopes up that he’s coming back into their lives. Be realistic with them about it. If he doesn’t call, then you don’t need to worry with it. You aren’t doing anything wrong because it’s not like he’s called and you wouldn’t let him speak to the children or are not allowing visits…
You keep doing what you’re doing and see what happens. You may be worrying needlessly over this…


#6

You do not have to allow him phone contact with the children, but even though he has not had contact with them in three years he can file a lawsuit for visitation with them. However, when making a decision the court will consider all of the evidence surrounding custody especially the last three years.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

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

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#7

I have a unique situation, I think.
My husband and I were divorced 3 years ago. We had a quick, by-mail divorce here in NC, but he lives in Massachusetts (where I also lived until 5 years ago). The divorce stated that we would settle all property disputes and custody disputes ourselves, etc, etc. I have always had unchallenged, sole custody of our 3 kids, who are now 14, 12, 10 years old. Since our separation, my X has been arrested several times for DUI (spent time in jail for it), assault, domestic battery against his girlfriend, and most recently, assault against her 16 yr old son. During all this time (3+years), he has had no contact with our children. No phone calls, no visits, and 2 1/2 years ago, he stopped sending me voluntary child support and never told me he was going to stop, nor returned my calls at that time. I ended up going after him legally and getting a court order for support, which took a year, all the while never having contact with him.

Last night, his girlfriend called me, acting like they just found my phone number (it’s possible, I guess), asking questions about the kids and could he call them, blah, blah. I played it cool and said sure, no problem. But now I’m nervous about it. I am not sure this is in the best interst of my kids at this point. The girlfriend said he hadn’t drank in months, but I know that just 1 1/2 months ago is when he was arrested for assaulting her son. I have raised my kids so very differently from the way he lives his life now. They don’t even know what kind of person their dad is because I think they are too young to process it and not be burdened by it.

My question is this: what rights does he have to them based on his past history of neglect and disinterest? And his irresponsible, sometimes violent record? I absolutely want what is best for my children - I’ve been the one sacrificing for them these past several years, not him - and I was hoping they would be a little older than they are now when they would have contact with him again!

THANKS!!
Lisa