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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34172
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Hello, I have a question concerning my daughters primary

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I have a question concerning my daughter's primary custodial parent moving with her. Currently, I live in Tennessee and she lives in North Carolina. Our agreement is set through court with the mother as the custodial parent and myself as the secondary parent. I have my daughter Thursday-Sunday every other week and I meet her mother halfway to pick her up.

I received a letter in the mail last week stating that she wants to change the "visitation terms" based on her moving to Delaware for a lucrative job opportunity. The letter doesn't state the terms she wants to change to. It just says to have my lawyer contact her lawyer. I don't currently have a lawyer.

My questions are: 1.) What rights do I have in this situation? and 2.) If I get a lawyer, would I be able to get one in Delaware after she has moved and change to the DE court system from the NC court system? (She has a lawyer hook up and knows people in the court system in her county in NC, so I would have better luck in Delaware.)

Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
1.) What rights do I have in this situation?

A: Hello. North Carolina law provides that the custodial parent has the authority to determine where the child will live (unless the current court orders restrict the child's relocation. If the custodial parent can continue to follow the existing orders while residing with the child in Delaware, then she has no obligation to request any modification orders from the court. She can simply move, and notify you of the child's new residence. If the custodial parent cannot continue to follow the existing custody orders, then she would be in contempt of court, and you could ask for a contempt order.

Alternatively, you can, upon receipt of notice of the move, file a motion to modify custody, if you believe that the move is not in the child's best interests. Or, you can do nothing, allow the move and wait to see if the other parent can continue to comply with the current orders. After six months, Delaware becomes the child's "home state," and all further custody orders must be made in a Delaware court -- which appears to be what you are seeking to accomplish. So, your best move here may be to do nothing at all -- and just wait and see what happens after the move.

2.) If I get a lawyer, would I be able to get one in Delaware after she has moved and change to the DE court system from the NC court system? (She has a lawyer hook up and knows people in the court system in her county in NC, so I would have better luck in Delaware.)

A: Yes. You can register your current custody orders or divorce judgment in Delaware, and after six months bring a custody modification motion to the court. And, if the other parent violates the custody orders before the six month jurisdiction date, then you could bring the motion for contempt in Delaware, regardless of the continuing North Carolina jurisdiction.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great information. Thank you. As far as the motion to change visitation I received that I'm supposed to follow up on, what happens there if I do nothing?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
At this point, there is no motion. It's just a letter. You would have to be served with motion papers. If you are served, then you need to read the relief requested and see if they are trying to do something to reduce your current custody rights. If they are, then you would object and place the matter in dispute, so that a hearing will have to take place -- unless you settle the matter by agreement.

You can respond to the letter stating that you have no objection to the move, as long as the current orders are substantially unchanged.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, one more question about the papers. I included a link to an image of the paperwork I got in the mail. Can you take a look at it and confirm that these are not the motion papers you're referring to that I would have to object to?

I have blocked out names for privacy.

http://min.us/lbiYD4rQxdm

http://min.us/lbz2BArpdIpBUS

http://min.us/lmdCPqRuigzWp

http://min.us/l7u4xA0BzwkQu

Thanks so much.



Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
The papers expressly state that it is a motion to modify. You will have to respond, to the motion, assuming that you want to make certain that the other parent doesn't obtain orders that may reduce your current custody rights.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. Who would I respond to? The court or her lawyer? Thanks
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
You must file your original response with the court and serve a copy on opposing counsel.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great, thanks. Any tips on how to respond to court when you're representing yourself?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
The general rule is to try to make everything about the child's best interests, and not direct the court to how you will be injured or the other parent's bad conduct. Courts don't like parents who play "poor me" or who try to cast the other parent as an "evil monster."

Based on what you've described, the only issue at this time is that the other parent should maintain the existing custody orders, and if she does, then you have no objection to the move. That's exactly how I would respond.

There are no online forms with which to respond to a custody modification action, so I cannot direct you to any. And, I'm not permitted to draft legal pleadings. If you need direct assistance and you cannot afford a lawyer, then for NC legal aid services, see:

Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc.
Program Phone:(NNN) NNN-NNNN
Legal Assistance:(NNN) NNN-NNNN
http://www.legalaidnc.org/

If you want to hire a lawyer, then see this link.

If you want to try to "do-it-yourself," then see this link. Yes, professional practice guides are expensive. If you want to avoid the cost, you could visit a public or university law library -- but as you are in Tennessee, you may not be able to find relevant North Carolina materials in your state.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34172
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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