Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

I have two children by my ex-boyfriend. We have no custody agreement at all, but he does come to see his children and by diapers and their other needs when i cannot. Legally can i move out of the state of NC with our children without having his permission?

Asked on 3/13/12, 1:55 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

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Yes. But if you disappear without telling him, he has 6 months to bring a custody action against you and you might be ordered to return the children to the state. Custody of the children might also be awarded to him on a temporary basis, depending on what kind of petition he files and if he has counsel.

If you make it 6 months, then North Carolina will lose jurisdiction and any custody action will havec to be brought in whatever state the children will reside in and be decided under that state's laws.

You will have to evaluate the circumstances - why you want to move and your motives (is it a job offer? or just an attempt to preclude the father from seeing the children?) and his and your financial situation. If he does not have money, maybe the likelihood of legal action is unlikely on his part and even less likely if you are in a new state for 6 months or more.

However, children benefit from having more people who love them and who are involved in their life, not less. It is not beneficial to the children or healthy for development of a parent-child relationship when one parent deprives the other parent of a relationship with the children.

You figured out how to make 2 children with this man. I hope that you and he can reach an amicable mutual decision as to where you will live and what sort of arrangements will be made to foster the father's relationship with the children. Depending on their ages, maybe he can spend longer time with them on school breaks or during the summer. With soaring gas prices some accomodation is going to have to be made on travel expenses - it should not be all one way in that if he wants to visit his children then he can travel to your new state but never the other way around. If you reach something, get a lawyer to put it in writing for you. As long as you and the father both sign and notarize, the agreement will be valid.

Know however that nothing is set in stone and just because you have an agreement does not mean that either party cannot go to court. Further, each case turns on its own facts. I have assumed that both of you are reasonably fit individuals who love your children and there are no facts like abuse that come into play. Obviously, if such circumstances exist, it would affect the nature of the advice provided.

The other way to work this is that if you cannot reach an amicable agreement, then bring a custody action now before you leave the state and express therein that you intend on relocating. The court is going to try to get you to mediate this by working out a mutual agreement with the father, but if that is truly not possible then the court will make a decision based on whatever the court deems to be in the children's best interests. Anything and everything bearing on the children's best interests will be relevant - such as where they go to school, what arrangements are made to provide for their care while the parent works, the ages of the children and any special needs or health issues, which parent is a better parent etc. There is a whole laundry list and each factor may or may not be relevant and accorded weight.

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3/13/12, 7:36 pm

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