I recently got a copy of my children’s school records and found out that my ex-wife listed her boyfriend as their father on all forms. We have court coming up soon for a modification of our current order and contempt for her violating the order as well. Can I file contempt over this, and if so, on what grounds? Would this be parental interference?
I am tired of dealing with her parental alienation and this has taken it to another level in providing false information on official documents. She has sole custody.
Thank you for your inquiry. Let me preface this by saying that I am not licensed to practice law in Virginia and can therefore give you no specifics as to how the Virginia courts would answer your question. Therefore, my analysis of your question will use North Carolina law, which is the state I practice in.
In terms if you can file a contempt order, it depends on what is ordered in the order. If it is provided that you have joint legal custody, then you can make an argument that she violated the order by not providing you with joint access to the children’s records. It is hard to say without looking at the specifics of the order.
At the end of your question you note that she has sole custody. Does that mean sole legal and/or physical? Assuming she has sole legal custody then the fact that she hasn’t put you on the records does not put her in contempt. However, she is providing false information on a public record and that is a testament to her credibility. You could try to use the information in a modification of custody hearing and argue that the fact that she put her boyfriend on the forms as the father is a way of hindering or destroying your role as a father in the children’s lives. I do not know if that would work because I have not seen any of the court documents and in a modification of custody, in North Carolina, there must a substantial change of circumstances.
Again, I am not practiced in your state and would advise you to seek counsel in your jurisdiction.
Andrea Miller is a Staff Attorney in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C., where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Miller is licensed in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Miller received her undergraduate degree in History and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in law school, she on the Client Counseling Team for Moot Court and became a board member. Ms. Miller also participated in UNC’s Legal Assistance Clinic whereby she helped represent indigent clients obtain legal counsel primarily in the area of domestic relations.