Cohabitation/Modification of Child Custody

Asked almost 6 years ago - Cameron, NC

I live in North Carolina. My ex now lives in GA due to military schooling. My divorce was completed in Sep 08, my custody order was completed in May 08. I am the primary custodian in a joint custody arrangement.

My ex is taking me to take trying to modify the custody arrangement for him to become the primary custodian, to discontinue his CS if he is grated the change and to have it court-ordered that I am not allowed to have a man live in my home with me unless we are married or related by blood. His request is for the following reasons:

1. I cohabitat with a man that I have not disclosed the name of. (He has a history of threatening individuals I am dating and my divorce atty stated I did not have to disclose the name as long as it was a safe home environment. NC repealed the cohabitation law in April 2007.)

2. That I moved without informing him of my move in a timely manner. (he filed the paperwork 3 Oct 08. I started moving after I filed for final absolute divorce on 24 Jul 08, I did not finish moving until 8 Aug 08. I informed him of my new address via email on 11 Aug 08, twice on 13 Aug 08 and on 15 Aug 08. He sent me a letter to my new address and it is date stamped by the P.O. 19 Aug 08) I did move to another county, but when he cannot pick-up our son at the daycare per our court-order I meet him half-way between our homes in a public place.

3. That I am not allowing communications between him and our 4 yo son. (He wants my home number and I have provided him with my cell phone#, per my divorce atty's advice. I have asked him not to text me, which he does throughout the work day and he sees this as limiting his communication w/ a 4 yo that can't read. I have offered for him to call and speak to our son at least 3x a week. He only calls once a week by choice and I always make sure our son is available to speak.)

4. He states I do not give him enough input into our son's life or give him enough updates. (I email him and give him updates following all dr and dentist appts. He has all the information about his daycare and the elementary school he will eventually attend. I send him occasional pictures that I take, since he doesn't have school pictures yet. Our son is seen at the same clinic he has been at since the day he was born and my ex chose the dentist he uses.)

I accomodate his visits because he does not come back to NC very often. He very often visits for less time than I offer and always has a "reason" for this. Our seperation/divorce has been strained and I did attempt to get a DVPO at one point, but could not due to witnesses not being able to or willing to testify. This motion for modifying child custody and another case for malicious prosecution for the DVPO came together following the attempt for the DVPO. I went to my county SAFE house and they are the ones that directed me with the DVPO, so I am protected there because I filed for it on their advice.

What can I do? I have evidence that 98% of what he is saying is not true. The part that has me worried is disclosing the name of my boyfriend (I have disclosed it since I have been served the motion. He states he wants a background check on my boyfriend and to speak to him about raising "his son". He has even demanded his SSN.) What foot do I have to stand on?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Jeffrey William Gillette

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . It sounds like you have two questions: 1) can your ex convince a judge to completely change the status quo regarding you and your son; and 2) can your ex make your life miserable by harassing you in the guise of a lawsuit. Based on what you wrote, the answer to the first question is, "probably not." The answer to the second question is, "he most certainly can, and has already done so." I suspect that the best way for you to shut him down, and regain your own peace of mind, is to hire a lawyer to represent you and handle your ex's requests. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, try contacting Legal Aid (www.legalaidnc.org) to ask if they could represent you free of charge.

    Whether any of the four issues you mention have merit depends on a lot of facts. I'm not in a position to predict what decision a court would make.

    Your ex has the right to file the proper forms with the proper court in order to get his claims before the judge. If he hasn't put all the right elements in his complaint, you can ask the court to throw it out. Once he gets the case or motion in court, he has the right to discover various sorts of information from you, but some types of information are off limits. There are some limits to the quantity of information he can request, and the court may be willing, if you ask, to deny him access to some very private or sensitive information.

    A competent attorney should be able to quickly identify if there are any defects in your ex's court papers, or if the case can be dismissed. Having a lawyer respond to your ex's requests may also scare him a little, or, at least, put him on his best behavior. And your lawyer will know what types of information you do not have to divulge, and what steps can be taken to protect it.

    Good luck with your case.

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