Articles Tagged with custody

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Dear Carolyn,

I have a two year old daughter and the mother and I are facing a custody trial. The mother, in my opinion, has some mental disorders and has been treated for long-term depression. The mother breast fed, and mother and daughter are close.  I feel, however, that I am the better custodial parent.  Will the daughter’s age and sex keep me from being a custodial parent until she is older? Will the court listen to me, or am I just out of luck until my daughter is older?

– Dad

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Dear Carolyn,

My ex is all over Facebook about what she did with the kids during Spring Break. She apparently took some young woman with her to babysit so she could spend more time with her boyfriend on the Florida beach. She posted my little boy “buck naked” on the beach on Facebook. She posted her “babysitter—young woman” drinking beer with at least a dozen empty beer cans in the background. She posted a picture of her boyfriend and her entwined on the beach on a blanket. And to top it all off, she posted a picture of her new engagement ring from him, and we are not even divorced. I have filed for custody of the two children. She wants alimony. Are the pictures I downloaded from Facebook admissible? Can I make her remove the nude picture of my son as I am worried about perverts? Do these Facebook pictures help me in my quest for custody and no spousal support? I am frustrated with the whole process.

Dear Frustrated,

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Dear Carolyn,

I am a legally blind mother with a ten-year-old daughter. My daughter was just diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. Just prior to the diagnosis, my daughter had a fainting spell, and my neighbor called social services. Now, I have the Department of Health and Human Services at my door. They have threatened to place her in foster care if there is another fainting spell. The fainting spells happen when her blood sugar gets too low. What are my rights? Do I need a lawyer?

– Please help

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Hello Carolyn,

I have a question regarding grandchildren who are in the custody of the grandparents.

Here is the scenario. My wife and I have legal custody of three grandchildren ages 13, 12, and 9.  We were granted legal custody by the court about 18 months ago.  Before that, we had been granted temporary custody of the children.  We have been given permanent custody because the parents cannot/will not take proper care of the children.  The father has a drug problem and has not completed court order drug rehab, nor has he presented us a drug test showing negative results.  There is a court order for child support, but he does not pay it.  He stays off the radar so Child Support Services can’t locate him.  The Mom is bipolar and refuses to take her medications and see her psychiatrist on a continuing basis.  The parents have minimum  contact with the kids

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Dear Readers, let me hear from you regarding prescription drug abuse and its effect on your family.  In the second Ask Carolyn today, I touch on the Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne divorce and Prince’s death.

Dear Carolyn,

I am a pilot going through a divorce.  My ex is holding my pilot log books hostage.  I have asked her nicely to please give me the log books, and she simply will not do so.  How do I get my log books back from here in this divorce? Does she have any “marital rights” in my log books?

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Dear Carolyn,

I share custody of our son with my ex-husband. Another school year is about the begin. I dread the issues with homework. As my son gets older and homework gets more important, there has to be something we can do as parents to make sure homework is both done consistently and turned in consistently. My ex is a little more concerned with fun at his house that homework, although he is a pretty good father. What are homework guidelines for sharing custody every other week during the school year?

Carolyn Answers…

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Divorce and its aftermath can be (and usually are) chaotic. Having kids and keeping track of all their things was tough enough, and now you have to coordinate your parenting with someone you may not even want to talk to, much less strategize with. And on top of it all, you have to manage everything on your own. Talk about a trial by fire.

Luckily for you, there’s an app for that. Or several. These apps can’t do it all for you, but they can make things easier.

SquareHub (Free)

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Dear Carolyn,

I believe I am the Father of a son, but the Mother is married to someone else.  I dated Mother while she and her husband were separated, but now they are back together.   We had sex during the time we were dating and the child was born 9 months later—perfect timing for the child to be mine. Mother and Mother’s husband will not let me see the child, and quite frankly, hide him from me.  I want to see my son.  What can I do?  I do not have any other children.

~ Bewildered Father

 

Dear Bewildered,

You have a chance for visitation, and here’s what you will need to do.  North Carolina has a very strong presumption that a child born of and during a marriage is the child of the Husband to the marriage.   You will have to file a lawsuit asking for visitation and asking that the presumption be overcome.

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Benjamin N. Neece, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

            When analyzing custody, the issue of who has rights to custody of a minor is commonly focused on the biological parents of the child.  In the eyes of the law, under the right circumstances, biological parents may be disfavored in congruence to “third party” individuals who assert rights to custody.  Some of the most common third-party custody claims are, unsurprisingly, asserted from either the paternal or maternal grandparents.  North Carolina and much of the south, is known for having strong family ties and deep communal roots where grandparents often play a large role in raising not only their children, but their children’s children.  These relationships are often supplemental to the relationships between biological parents and their children, but in some situations grandparents end up being the de facto “mommy” and “daddy” to the minor children.  Where biological parents display continued behavior of either unwillingness or inability to effectively parent their children, grandparents step in and seek legal intervention for the sake of the children.

When it comes to the law, courts have a duty to put the best interest of the children above all others.  Under the Constitution of the United States, the biological parents of a minor have a protected interest in the custody, care, and control of their children.  This is an incredibly high bar to overcome for third-party individuals seeking to assert custodial rights in opposition to those possessed by biological parents.  The law provides for a vague and widely discretionary test for resolving custody disputes of this kind.  While the interest of the children are intended to be promoted above all others, biological parents maintain an almost equally powerful interest that will more often than not prevail over that of third-party individuals unless it can be shown that the parents are unfit or have engaged in some “conduct inconsistent with their protected status.”  Courts do not provide a bright line test in determining what conduct constitutes a violation, but some examples are behavior that leads to neglect of the children, abandonment of the children, and at times, the voluntary surrender of custody of the children.  This behavior must have a negative impact on the child or constitute a substantial risk of such impact.

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By: Leesa M. Poag, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

In a typical child custody case, the mother and father of a child are seeking the intervention of the court to settle their dispute over who should be granted custody of their child.  Though this is the situation most often facing family law attorneys throughout the Triad, the cases become more complex when one of the parties seeking custody of a child is not a biological parent of that child.

This is the situation that the North Carolina Supreme Court had to address in 2003 in the case of Owenby v. Young.  In 1989, Fred and Priscilla Young were married, and two children were born thereafter.  Four years after marrying, Fred and Priscilla divorced.  Upon their separation, the former spouses executed a separation agreement that granted Ms. Young primary custody of the minor children, and secondary custody to Mr. Young.

For seven years, the parties acted and shared custody of the children under this agreement.  However, in April of 2000, tragedy struck when Ms. Young was killed in a plane crash.  At this time, the minor children were 10 and 11 years old.  Following Ms. Young’s death, Mr. Young moved the children in with him and began to exercise sole custody of the children.

But this arrangement would not last long.  After the children had lived with their father for a few weeks, Ms. Young’s mother, Priscilla Owenby, filed a complaint with the court seeking custody of the children on both a permanent and ex parte basis.  An order was entered by the court that same day granting temporary custody of the children to Ms. Owenby.  Mr. Young then filed an answer to Ms. Owenby’s complaint and a counterclaim for custody of the children.  The case came on for hearing in the trial court in December of 2000.

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