Overnight guests, cohabitation and custody


#1

My ex and I have been separated for more than 5 years and divorced for over 4 years. We have a Wake County Court Order enforcing child custody which is joint with 50/50 physical custody. The Order stipulates that there should be ‘no overnight guests of the opposite sex’ while either of us have the children in our custody. My youngest child will be 8 years old in the summer. I would like to have the order changed to allow my girlfriend to be able to have vacations with the kids, spend overnights at either house and ultimately cohabit together while I have the kids. I know that the NC laws preventing co-habitation were struck down in 2006 however I don’t know how the NC courts view unmarried adults spending the night together or cohabiting in terms of child custody. My ex will not even discuss a consent order so what are the chances of getting the Wake County Court to modify the order?


#2

In order to modify the current court order, you must show a substantial change in circumstances affecting the wellbeing of the children. Without such a showing, the court order cannot be modified. Unless you can show that it is detrimental to the children that your girlfriend is not able to spend the night or attend vacations, and/or that the children will greatly benefit from this happening, it is not likely that you will be able to show a substantial change in circumstances.


Anna Ayscue

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

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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.


#3

This is really frustrating. I have my boys over half the time, up to 75% of the month. I can’t go on vacation with my girlfriend and her kids because of my ex-wife. The way the clause is written into the separation agreement (which, I thought was only for the first year, until divorce), we can’t have their half sister, aunts, cousins, grandmother, or any female spend the night. The boys would not be allowed to have cousins, uncles, or friends spend the night at their mother’s house. Ridiculous.

“Neither party shall have overnight guests of the opposite sex during the term of their
visitation.”

If the verbiage is general and vague is it still enforceable? What are the consequences?
She didn’t have issues with cohabiting with me 14 years ago and raising her 2 children from her first marriage.


#4

Typically such a clause refers to romantic interests of the parent, but be sure to thoroughly read your separation agreement.

A vague clause is enforceable unless there is no way to tell what one parties’ responsibilities or obligations are or the clause can be interpreted many ways.


Anna Ayscue

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

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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.