Questions related to visitation


The only thing I can tell you is that your husband should go back to the court order custody. Go back and read the papers carefully. If he is supposed to have every other weekend, then make arrangments for that to start happening. Don’t let any excuse work. Make plans for every other weekend and show up to pick her up. His ex knows that living out of state makes things more difficult and she is not going to help. The daughter is 10 so she should be able to make some “plans” too. Start with taking the original court order and arrange your schedules so that you just go get her every other weekend.
If the paper say that he gets half the vacation then get her summer schedule and pick either the end or the beginning, and send the ex those dates in writing. “I will pick — up on June x and return the child on July x”. Don’t send her a proposal send her a scheduled time. Don’t give her the option to choose not to let her be with her father. With the court papers, your ex was awarded joint custody. Take the time given because if it goes back to court, she can show that the visitations he was supposed to take was not taken. This may look to the courts as a reason to modify that custody due to lack of interest. Document everything, every time she refused, every time she caused problems.

Just because your husband has been told that other fathers only get a specific amount of time does not mean that he should settle for this. Take the time he’s supposed to with her. Her attorney would not take you back to court for following the court order or agreement…only to get that modified so that he has even less time. Joint custody normally means that both parents equally call the shots. It sounds as though he has been letting the ex make all the decisions as though she has primary custody. To let that continue would be a mistake, IMHO.


Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, my husband has been documenting everything - including his repeated request for an equitable split of the vacation time (half) - which has never been granted by the ex with the support of her lawyer.
Regarding the week-ends - up to this year he asked for every other week-end when setting up the visitation schedule in advance, but they were denied and only one week-end a month was allowed.

BTW, the parent coordinator that was supposed to handle these issues quit a long time ago stating the reason that the ex started not showing up (because things were not going her way) and sent her lawyer to the meetings instead.
Also what’s complicating things is a more recent order that grants her the right to make the plane reservations (based again on some bogus reasons, pushed by her lawyer and agreed to by his (but not by my husband)).
But I guess since going there and picking her up is not mentioned anywhere, it could be a possibility.



PS. Apparently the original agreement on the visitation is a “settlement” not a court order. Is there such a thing and does that have a lesser weight in front of a judge? (his lawyer is trying to make him believe that)…


It sounds as though your husband and the ex had an arrangment/agreement about the custody instead of custody being decided in court. A settlement/agreement will hold up in court since they both signed it. If there was a court order then, yes it would hold a little more weight because they would have to return to court to change it and going against a court order is worse than going against an agreement. It would hold more weight but a judge would still not like that the mother is essentially keeping the child away and denying visitations as agreed.
Basically, they agreed to arrangements and she did not stick to the agreement. With a court order, she would be going against the law if she did not follow the order.

I suggest going back over the papers he has carefully. Talk with the attorney again if necessary and find out if there are other options. If there is nothing stating that the daughter can not be picked up instead of flown then send a notice in writing, certified of when he will be there to pick her up. Have him talk to his boss to let him know the situation. He may need to make arrangements to leave earlier on Friday’s to get there but if you can force the original schedule for a time, then if it does go back to court it will look better that he has tried to do everything possible.
Talk to the attorney, find out why he would agree to something that your husband did not agree to. Was something signed? If this has been an issue then “shop” around for another attorney.

The thing about this that I keep seeing is that he’s “requesting” time that is rightfully his. When he sends these e-mails, letters, whatever, do not request every other weekend, state that these weekends will be his time. Whether they agreed or were court ordered custody, they both signed a paper stating that he had joint custody with every other weekend, 1/2 holidays and vacations. If he is involved with her school schedule and know when she has vacations, then schedule it and inform the ex. If this needs to go through her attorney then send the stuff to her attorney informing them that he is taking advantage of his legal right with joint custody to visit with his daughter every other weekend and that if there is an issue, the ex needs to modify custody.
My questions to them would be, how are you legally able to deny visitations that are not yours to deny? Why agree to joint custody but then not allow joint custody? Joint custody is joint custody. Re-read those papers and talk to an attorney and please do not let this continue.


If there is a court order in effect he can go to court and move to modify it via a motion and order to show cause. In order to change the custody order in effect his ex would have to prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances. You should keep in mind that even the best attorney does not make the facts. The judge is going to make a decision based on that.

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 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

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Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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I guess this is a typical situation - but it always looks worse from the “inside”… Any advice is greatly appreciated…

My husband has been divorced under NC law and has an 10 year old daughter.
My husband has been awarded joint custody and among other things was awarded to have visitation every other week-end as well as half of the vacations and holidays.

My husband and I now live in VA and we have other children.
The daughter lives in NC with her mother.
There are no special circumstances (abuse, neglect, etc.) in this case except that the ex

  1. has an extremely “tough” lawyer (probably the toughest in town)
  2. has plenty of financial support to pay for #1 above
  3. has a history of slight mental instability - the type that is telling blatant lies and firmly believes them (or so it appears) - thus making everyone else around her believe pretty much whatever she wants them to…

My husband is as involved as possible in his daughter’s life - given the distance. He contacts her school, requested regular reports and talked to the counselor, teachers, even visited the school on occasion. He also talked to some of the daughter’s physicians.
He talks to his daughter once a week for 45-60min. (He would do it more often, but his calls are often “sabotaged” already - so he takes what he can…)
Besides only allowing one week-end visitation a month (with multiple problems brought up the last minute for previously planned long week-ends), my husband’s ex has been always denying their daughter to spend half of her summer vacation with her father. Initially the reason was that she is too young and cannot take it, and now that the period requested is just too long - no specific reason. At the same time she is ready to send her off to a no-parents summer-camp for 2 weeks.
My husband sent her two equitable proposals for the vacation - one in one period and another with 4 weeks + 1 week, with equally split days, week-end days and days for travel.
She counter-proposed two periods covering about 1/3 of the vacation time and even though she works the week-ends (Realtor) and my husband has the 9-5 job, she is chopping off as many week-ends as possible - so that as little quality time remains as possible for my husband and his daughter…
My husband tried asking for more reasonable offers, but to no avail.

My questions are:
What are the chances of getting her to comply with the original agreement and have the daughter spend 1/2 her vacation with us - in one period if possible? Or worst case, have a bigger period and another smaller one? We were thinking of filing a contempt of court claim.
My husband was “told” (by other legal representatives) that fathers only get two periods of 2 weeks and he should be ok with this - but we think the daughter needs bonding time with her father and her siblings (who adore her). She always has a good time with us, my husband has multiple recordings proving that.
If you think such a claim could be successful, how much do you estimate the whole proceedings (+ court) might cost (in Charlotte)?

Also, what would be the chances to change the original agreement to be allowed to “pick” the visitation week-ends as well as vacation weeks? - so far the ex has been making her plans in advance and giving “leftover” days to my husband.

Our only fears are that, given #1 at the beginning of this e-mail, the agreement might be changed in some even more unfavorable way for my husband as a result of going to court.

Thank you for any advice you can provide.

Still Hoping…