Need to revise parental agreement/Need to get divorced


#1

I have a challenging situation. My ex and I have been separated for 2 1/2 years. We have had 2 parental agreements written up, the common factor being that my son was not allowed to be around my new partner. My new partner and I are moving forward in a positive way in our relationship, after having a rough first few years. We currently have a child together and are expecting our second child together. My son is 5, and I can tell that he frequently feels left out because I am not allowed to have him at my house when my new partner is there. I take the 2 kids usually to my ex’s house to be with them and my son never spends the night with us. I want to go back to mediation and change this because at this point my partner and I are talking about getting married next year and I don’t want it to continue to leave my son out. My ex and I have also not gotten a divorce yet. I would like to get that taken care of before my next child is born, because last year when my daughter is born because of NC law since I was still married, legally my “husband” is considered the father, not her actual father. My ex feels like if this is taken to court the judge will side with him because of my partner’s legal status and because of our rocky history. My ex is adamant that he does not want our son around my partner. My partner and I have been even working with a social worker to learn how to create a happy and safe environment for my children and we are succeeding in meeting all of the requirements in doing that. (my partner and I have a history of DM, which is why we are working with a social worker) I feel very confident in all of the positive changes we are making. But that leaves me back to how to deal with my ex? He has scared me so much into thinking the judge will side with him, but I desperately miss the time with my son and am scared how he will feel when my baby is born.
How do I do this and in the same moment file for divorce? I do not have a lot of money but this is very important for me to do. I’m not even sure how I will afford a lawyer in all of this.


#2

Getting divorced won’t be that complicated compared to what you may need to do to get custody changed. You don’t need to hire an attorney to do your divorce for you. You need to wait until one year and one day of separation has passed, then you can file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. You will need to serve that on him, then wait 30 days for to see if he will file an Answer. You can then get a court date for the divorce hearing. It will cost $150 to file the complaint.

Custody may be more of a challenge for you. You can always modify custody. It is never permanently set. I would certainly suggest following the suggestions made by the social worker and you could try to modify custody by showing that a substantial change in circumstances affecting the best interest of the children has occurred, wherein you seek more visitation time and allow your new husband to be around the children. It would likely be beneficial for you to at least consult with an attorney about this process when you are ready, even if you can’t retain one. Good luck to you.


#3

Thank you. I am hoping to be able to meet with an attorney next month for my son.

For the divorce, should I wait until I have what I want in the custody or can I file for a divorce before we have another mediation for custody? We will have been separated 3 years in March.


#4

No, you needn’t wait until the custody issue is resolved before you file for divorce. Filing for or obtaining a divorce will have no impact on the pending custody matter.