Signing over rights

I’m not an attorney, but I am a father who has a vindictive former spouse. I am very familiar with the despair that comes from having one’s children kept away for no reason other than to satisfy the ego of a controlling woman.

My advice: sue for custody, even if it has to be done pro se (doing it on your own). Unless your husband can be proven to be an unfit parent (and that is hard to prove unless he has significant issues that hurt the child)then he will get a better arrangement than he has now - guaranteed. He has nothing to lose because things are already so bad. If this goes to court, he will end up better off than he is now. The NC court system will almost always grant the father reasonable visitation, at the very least. His daughter needs him in her life. She deserves his love and time.

I think it would be a terrible error to sign rights away just to avoid having to pay child support (or for any other reason unless he truly doesn’t care for the child). He cannot get out of paying child support. Get that out of your heads now. It is despicable that men are treated like banks to finance the whims of ex-wives, but that is just how it is and that isn’t going to change. Accept it. He MUST pay child support if he wants a legally binding custody agreement that will guarantee access to the child.

Yes, costs to litigate a custody suit can be prohibitive. Keep in mind, though, that the majority of custody cases never play out in court. The judge will require the father and mother to enter mediation to try to sort through issues. When faced with the potential of heavy attorney costs if the matter does go to court, usually both parties find some agreement. After the agreement is entered in court the mother can be sued if she refuses to abide by it.

This woman sounds like she doesn’t care what is in the best interests of the child. Create a timeline of her refusals to allow him to see his child. Document, document, document. NC is a “one-party” state so that means that he can secretly tape record his phone calls and interactions with his former wife. If he records her refusing to let him see the child or if she exhibits unprovoked outbursts then this evidence could be used against her.

To prepare for a custody suit he has to be able to demonstrate that she does not observe what is in the child’s best interest and he must demonstrate that he is active, involved and interested in the child. He needs to be involved in caring for her, taking her to the doctor when needed, being involved with her schooling (if she is of age), etc.

I strongly believe that NC courts will give your husband a reasonably fair judgment if he will only make the sacrifice to fight for it. Yes, it will cost some money. I can remember not having an money myself. But from experience I can tell you that you’d better find a way to get some money! Sell a vehicle, save money from a tax return, take an extra job, borrow from family, get a loan… anything. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations.

There are lots of book on custody rights for fathers (I recommend Fathers’ Rights by Jeffery Leving and Custody for Fathers by Michael Brennan). The two of you must study articles and read lots of messages in forums like this one. Become experts. Learn, learn and learn some more about how all this works.

I did it, and so can you. I have spent years studying this stuff on my own and have tons of links and resources that I can help you with if need it. My email address is if you have questions I might be able to help with. Again, I’m not a legal expert… but I have been involved in a custody dispute for long enough to have learned a few things.

Fight. Don’t roll over and let this woman hurt the child by prohibiting access to her father.

While an attorney is recommended if you go to court, if you absolutely cannot afford it, going to court without an attorney is a better option that giving up your rights to see your children. Many counties offer legal clinics that will assist you in drafting the paperwork to file a complaint for child custody and many counties have mandatory mediation programs for custody. Looking into the rules for your specific county would be a good place to start, you may be surprised by the amount of assistance that could be available to you.

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

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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.

My husband and I are having a real ordeal with his ex-wife. This female has not let him see his child in six months. She left him in 2000 for another man when their child was 2. She kept the child from him for a year once and then for six months, and three months, etc. If he does something that makes her mad she will keep the child from him, for example he purchased a new-used vehicle and went to pick her up on an agreed visit and she started cussing him, and wouldn’t let the child go. Recently his mother has been getting the child every other weekend, and not even telling my husband that she got the child until weeks later. When his ex did the seperation papers there was nothing about child custody, or visitation. He has talked about signing over his rights, because he doesn’t have the money to fight her family for visitation. She said her husband wanted to adopt the child. He just doesn’t want to sign away his daughter. We were going to fill out visitation papers and send to her, but we were informed that she wouldn’t agree to them. If she doesn’t agree then we will be out $500 that we don’t have, and then if we have to go to court that will be $3500! We have three children together one of which is disabled, we just don’t have the money to fight them. Please help, he does want to be able to see her, and her be able to be part of our other children’s lives! He doesn’t want to sign over rights but he doesn’t think he should have to pay for his ex to have her hair and nails done, with money he is paying to support his child, that he doesn’t get to see.
We are good people, he has a full time job, I’m a full time homemaker, we go to church, and try to live right, this situation is very disheartning. What can we do?


Suzanne Jacobs