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Placing Children in The Middle

by Carolyn Woodruff, Attorney

The custodial parent must not decrease the status of the other parent in the child’s eyes. That is fundamental.

Also fundamental: Do not place the child in the middle of the parent’s dispute.

Woncik versus Woncik, from the court of appeals in North Carolina is instructive on the two fundamental principles mentioned above. The plaintiff Darlene Woncik is the mother and Edward Woncik is the father. The case is 1986 North Carolina case but still instructive on child custody.

In Woncik, mother remarried and after the remarriage began to engage in conduct along with her new husband to reduce the status of the defendant in the child’s eyes.

Interference with court-ordered visitation is contempt and may warrant a contempt citation. But it also can arise to a reason for a change in custody if there’s harm to the child. It shows a great lack of respect for judicial authority to interfere with court-ordered visitation.

This case was affirmed by the North Carolina court of appeals.