Taking the kids out of state and alimony


I forgot to ask, can I keep my wife from taking the kids?


You are faced with one of the most difficult issues parents face when they decide to separate and divorce. Your best bet would be to suggest that you and your wife seek the advice of a child specialist (psychologist) to discuss what type of co-parenting/custody arrangements will work for your two children. When parents cannot agree on what is best for their kids, a custody battle can turn an already difficult situation into a worse one, resulting in long-lasting scars on everyone involved, parents and kids.

You and your wife will not have wasted your time or your money by starting with educating yourselves, by seeking the advise and information you both need to make good decisions about both of your needs to continue to be active participants in your childrens’ lives. I know you are asking about your legal position, but ultimately, you and your spouse will be in a better position to make decisions based on what is best for your kids, regardless of the legal process.

The law protects children, by seeking what is best for the children under the circumstances. If you and your wife cannot agree what is best for the children in terms of custody, you will start with mandatory custody mediation, and this is only the beginning. If mediation is not successful, a court may seek the advice from a guardian ad litem or ultimately order a custody evaluation (neutral psychologist investigates and makes recommendations to the court). The court relies on experts to help the court make good decisions where children are concerned. That is why I suggest you take it upon yourselves (together) to work with a neutral child specialist from the outset.

About alimony- yes she would likely be entitled to some form of spousal support and alimony. Here, the question of alimony is, how much and for how long? There is not a set formula to determine this amount, but it is based on need, among several other subjective factors. One factor is the length of the marriage. Your marriage is relatively short-term, so that would certainly be compelling for a short-term duration. The trend for alimony is to use it as a means for helping a dependant spouse get in a position where they can become financially independent.

Deborah M. Throm
Rosen Law Firm
1829 E. Franklin Street, Bldg. 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.265.0017 direct
919.321.0780 main voice
Email: dthrom@rosen.com

4101 Lake Boone Trail
Suite 500
Raleigh, NC 27607
919.256.1544 direct
919.787.6668 main voice

301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
704.644.2531 ext. 100


I think my marriage might be on its last legs. My wife of 4 1/2 yrs. is threatening to go back to Pennsylvania where her family lives and take our 4 y/o and 8 mo/o sons with her. Also, she hasn’t worked for almost the entire time we’ve been married. Would she be able to get alimony at any point?