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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16220
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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I live in NC. My ex & my daughter live in TN. We have been

Customer Question

I live in NC. My ex & my daughter live in TN. We have been divorced since 2006. I received a summons in the mail from her lawyer, not the courts. I am seriously confused by the whole thing. Basically the papers say that a temporary restraining order has been placed on me & that I am to have no contact with my daughter until a hearing can be held. Secondly there is attached a petition to have my parental rights terminated & my daughter be adopted by the stepfather. My problem is that I'm not real sure what I need to say in my defense. The petitions were filed on 4-29. It states that I have 30 days from the date it was served upon me to file my defense. However, I was not served by a court official or a Sheriff. I received it via certified mail on 5-17, again, from her lawyer & not the courts. To make matters worse/more confusing, the trial date is on 5-23, 12 & a half hours away from where I live, so I have definitely not had 30 days to prepare or file a proper defense. Also I have no money for a lawyer or to travel to the hearing as I have been recently laid off, have 2 small children in the home, & my wife is permanently disabled. Can anyone please help steer me in the right direction? Please!?!
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.
Hello there ---It appears that your ex's new husband wants to adopt your daughter and rather than simply asking your permission, they have filed a court matter to try to force your consent out of you. If you consent to this, you will be relieved of paying child support BUT you will not be permitted to have contact with your daughter unless your ex or her stepfather allow it to happen. Generally speaking, most court actions can be served upon the other side by a lawyer or by certified mail (or both) -- the sheriff service is generally only used when a divorce case gets started and then after that ALL matters to do with the marriage and those children can use certified mail as the means of serving notice on you for future events in the matter. -If you object to the adoption then you must file an ANSWER and simply state that you object to the adoption and then also file a Motion to have the hearing by telephone or teleconference because you cannot afford to travel to the court hearing and cannot make it on time. You should get the fax number of the clerk of courts office at the family court and FAX the answer and Motion to Have Telephone hearing to them and also fax a copy to her lawyer and send a copy to the lawyer by certified mail. Your response and Motion request do not have to be anything fancy and can be one page each. Just put the name of the court and the Her V You caption box on the left and the case number ***** the right and give each document one paragraph of the reason why you do not want the adoption to happen (the biggest would be that you do not want to be cut off from contact with your daughter) and then in the Motion explain very briefly in one paragraph that you cannot travel for an in person hearing on such short notice due to a disabled wife and small children at home and ask the court to order that you be permitted to participate by telephone. -If you have no further questions, can you please press a positive rating so I will be paid for my time for assisting you with these questions? I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating above in the ratings section (pressing the middle star, or the fourth or fifth star to the right of the middle star are all positive ratings). Pressing a positive rating will not cost you any additional money -- it is just the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!-MARY