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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1503
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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The custodial Mother after receiving thousands in child

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The custodial Mother after receiving thousands in child support has refused to pick up her kids that are 45 mins away. We constantly have to do all the transportation. Is there anything that can be done about this?
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: NC
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, but we need to.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: She lies to the kids, has an abusive boyfriend, 13 yr old is forced to sleep on the couch. She doesnt food shop on a regular basis but will do so when kids are not home.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer. I’m a licensed attorney with 37 years’ extensive experience in family law, trials, appeals, contracts, landlord-tenant, and other types of law.

This is general information and not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

Also, I’d like to review your question for a minute and type your answer. If I am not here for a few minutes, that means I am typing your answer. THIS IS NOT YOUR ANSWER YET so please allow me time to type it up for you. It may take a few minutes, so please understand that. Thanks!

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok, thank you. I look forward to your reply.

I'm really sorry to hear about all of this. This is common, and I have had these types of cases often. People fight about transportation issues all the time.

Did she move 45 min away or were you the one who moved?

Sometimes, the person who moved is responsible for more of the transportation, but in all fairness, there should be shared transportation.

You will want to change the agreement and court order that you have by changing: 1) drop-off and pick-up, 2) decide if you want custody to change because of the abusive boyfriend and because the 13 yr old is sleeping on the couch, and because there's not enough food.

I'm like a guardian ad litem in your state. I represent children. If I heard that one of my clients (the kids) slept on the couch, didn't have enough food or was with an abusive boyfriend, I would have a real problem with it and I would offer a change of custody IF the 13 yr old can go along with it.

A child’s preference is generally considered when he or she has reached the age of discretion – approximately 10 years old. North Carolina defines “the age of discretion” as the point when a child can form an intelligent and rational preference regarding custody. Some children may reach this rational age sooner or later than others.

So your 13 yr old would generally have to go along with a change of custody.

If you don't see that happening or don't want that to happen, you can do things without your child's input. For example, you can get the court to help you with transportation, and you can even ask that the bf be excluded from the children's presence if it turns out he is abusive. I'm really concerned about what's happening there and you have the right to be as well.

I don’t always say to get a lawyer, but in this instance I would. We aren't allowed to refer to any particular lawyer. However, what I do here, which helps my customers tremendously, is I give you a list of lawyers in your area and I'll show you how easy it is to pick one. I have a short, easy to understand free guide and it will show you what to look for in an attorney. I will also look for LegalAid and pro bono attorneys in your area if you tell me to do that. I just need to know where to look. The bigger the city the better. My customers tell me they have found great lawyers from my information. This part is free of charge -- I do this as a courtesy to my customers here. Just let me know if you want this information.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
My Fiance and I actually moved from NY to NC in 2015 to be closer to the kids. There is no court order other than child support. Which she did out of spite when the Father (my Fiance, Jeff) moved to NY to be with me. And although she lied and said he owed rears, he is completely caught up on child supoort.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I am not only concerned but completely disgusted with how the kids are treated and how they live. The abusive bf lives with them when not on the road driving trucks. Its a terrible situation. And my Fiance feels stuck. I am not sure our 13 yr old would go along with it, but he may. He gets very upset with his Mother and her lies. His younger 9 yr.old sister however is a different story.

Okay, thank you for that information.

If there is no original custody order, then this would be an original custody order, and he can try to go for custody if he wants. You moved from NY to NC, correct? I just want to clarify because it says moved from NY in one place and then says moved to NY but you moved FROM NY right?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
That is correct. Jeff moved to NY in 2010 and We moved from NY to NC together in 2015.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He seems to think the child support automatically is a custody order or that the Mother automatically gets custody.

I'm a NY attorney, and I'm also an Attorney for the Child, like a guardian ad litem. I'd be livid if one of my clients (the kids) lived like the 13 yr old is living. It's not healthy for her for many reasons.

He might be able to get custody of the 9 yr old. Technically judges don't like to split the siblings, but in some rare cases the siblings are split if the children should be with a different parent.

Oh okay, I understand, thanks.

No, child support is not automatically a custody order. The problem is, this is in NC and not in NY. NY is very progressive and we (Attorneys for Children) recommend fathers as custodial parents usually quite often, and in my practice, I did that about 50% of the time. Upstate NY might be different from downstate but in NC, it depends on whether a judge will allow a father to be the custodial parent. I know that does happen but how often? That's the question, and it's likely that the mother more often than not gets custody.Still, he should try for it if he wants it. All he has to do is allege what is going on there, but it would really help to have a lawyer. He can't do this himself.

Please let me know if you want me to find lawyers for you.

Does this answer your question or would you like more information?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Please do send me a list and if you do have access to legal aid or pro bono lawyers in Raleigh, NC that would be awesome. Thank you so much your responses.

Sorry -- I got bumped off.

I've had a lot of success looking in NC. I'll be right back.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Under the circumstances, could we try to go for emergency custody?

There's neglect going on here. You could discuss this with a lawyer but I would certainly bring it up and yes, that's a reason for emergency custody.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok, no problem. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Perfect, and yes we definitely need a lawyer to help us. Durham is another major city that is between Raleigh and Roxboro where she lives.

Raleigh family lawyers, private: 333 family lawyers, that's good

Pro bono/legal aid:

Here is my guide for understanding how to pick a private lawyer:


Here's what to look for and what to avoid.

Avoid: Any red mark next to an attorney's name, such as misconduct. That usually means the lawyer was either disbarred, censured, cited for misconduct, or suspended from the practice of law.

Ignore: Ratings, such as 6.5 or 10, which is the highest. A 6.5 attorney may be even better than a 10. It's difficult to say. The site has its own formula for rating attorneys and many attorneys get a 10 because they belong to bar associations and sometimes give lectures. That does not necessarily mean they're the best when it comes to going to court.

Remember: People who charge the most aren’t necessarily the best! I know people who charged twice as much as I did and I have won cases against them easily in court. Don’t be fooled by price.

What to look for: See what the clients’ reviews state, especially in the field that you're interested in (i.e. family law, wills, custody, guardianship, etc.). That is probably going to be the most important thing. Many people have not been reviewed, but if there are a bunch of them who are, go with the ones who have multiple reviews and whose reviews are outstanding. You don't want someone who is a family lawyer but who has been rated as an excellent criminal lawyer. That won't help you. You want them rated as an excellent family lawyer if that's what you're looking for.

I would also suggest you find someone who has been practicing at least 10 years, the more the better(15-20 is even better). The site will tell you how long they're practicing law. You don't want someone just a few years out of law school to take on your tough case.

If there are hundreds of lawyers on the link I’m sending to you, you don’t have to review all of them. Just look at the first few “pages” and that will be enough. Don’t make yourself crazy looking at all of the lawyers there.

Extra suggestion:

I also suggest that you find someone who does primarily family law – if that’s what you’re looking for – or any other type of law you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a family lawyer (or any other type of lawyer), the site I am sending you to shows what percentage of the lawyer’s business is family law (or the other type of law you are looking for). If you want a family lawyer, you should find someone who does mostly family law cases – at least 50% -- or exclusively family law cases (100%). I am an appellate attorney who does family law cases, and I do appeals exclusively now. I list myself as doing appeals for 85% of my practice, and I show that the appeals are for family law, custody and child abuse. Someone looking for a family law appellate attorney would know that that’s what I do. So consider the percentage of work they do in the area of law that you want. If it’s 20% or something similar, and they do several types of law, you should find another lawyer. Find someone who spends most of his or her time doing the type of law you want to hire them for.

Take Action: Take a few names and make some phone calls. Ask for a free consultation -- see if you can get one. If you don't feel confident in the lawyer, find another one. That's why it's good to make a list of the ones you want, maybe 5-6 lawyers and you'll find one. It’s okay to walk out of a lawyer’s office and don’t sign anything if you’re not comfortable with the lawyer. You usually want an aggressive lawyer to help you and someone who will return phone calls.

If you can take someone with you to interview the lawyer, that would be a good idea. It’s always good to have another opinion.

You can always fire a lawyer if you're not happy but once the case is underway, you may need court permission to do so, so make sure you like the lawyer!

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. That includes looking for lawyers. I’m happy to do so! I’m here most of the time (usually at night!) so you can always come back and talk to me (no extra charge) after I’m rated. If I’m not here, I will get an email if you leave me a question.

Please accept my answer, and please rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars (5, 4 or 3 stars, 5 stars would be much appreciated as I ALWAYS strive to give you 5 star service!). This can be found AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information such as where to find lawyers. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating. I have given you the benefit of my legal knowledge and 37 years of experience as well as my time.

Feel free to come back here for a follow-up question based on this one.
You're welcome to ask follow-up questions at any time, any day after I'm rated, free of charge.

We are not employees of Just Answer but are independent contractors, so your rating is very important to us so that we can be reimbursed for our work. Thank you! I'd rather be given the chance to add more information than be rated negatively, so I thank you for that.

If you want to ask for me specifically another time -- for a new question -- ask for "NYFamilyAttorney ONLY" and I will get the question. Otherwise you can come right back into this room for follow-ups, free of charge.

Best of luck to you and thank you for letting me help you today! Thanks in advance for rating me!

I strive for 5 star service every time, so if there's anything else I can do to earn that, I'm happy to do so.

FamilyAttorney and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you very much. I will definitely give you 5 stars. I really appreciate your help.

You are most welcome, and thank you! Much appreciated. Good luck and if you need to come back here, feel free to do so anytime, next week, tomorrow, next month. We do a couple of free follow-up questions. Best of luck! If you do get a guardian ad litem, make sure the GAL is on your side. That's what you want.