If the seperation agreement says this is your year for Thanksgiving, then they can stay with you; if it states this is his year you must send them to him. You state he was investigated for neglect of these same children… what was the outcome of that investigation? If there was no basis found in the allegation, then you cannot use that to keep the children from him. If the investigation is ongoing, contact the social worker for advise… any reccomendations she gives to you, get in writing. Verbal warnings will not hold up in court. I understand he lives in another state, do you have any allies there who could keep an eye on the kids while they are in your ex’s care?

The complaint, served or not, is a petition for divorce, child support, & custody. It is not legally binding until the judge rules on it. The seperation is the legally binding agreement in place until the divorce. Most people incorporate the seperation agreemtn into the divorce.

Hope this helps.


Until there is a court order in effect, you should follow the Agreement the two of you previously reached. If you believe the current Agreement will place the children in harms way, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to see what they would advise in light of the specific facts of your case.

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
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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.


I have just gotten copies of a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support (not yet officially served). To this point, my ex and I have only had a separation agreement between the two of us (not assisted by atty.) that is signed and notarized by both of us. It places custody with me and specifies every other Thanksgiving with each party, two to one Christmas (in my favor) and New Year’s with whomever doesn’t have Christmas that year. This year is to be my Thanksgiving. Also, he lives in another state.

Hostilities are high. He has just been investigated for possible abuse/neglect (of the children). Simply put, I do not want him to have the children for Thanksgiving. Does he have the right to have them since there is not yet an official order from the Court, only a separation agreement between us (again which says Thanksgiving and Christmas are mine anyway but New Year’s is his). I would rather wait until all is settled in Court before allowing them to travel to another state with him for the holiday.