Dear Carolyn:

I was accused of domestic violence, and nothing was found. I was boxed in by a public pretender to sign a consent form. The form states that there was no evidence, but there were accusations. They still have not given back my children.


Carolyn Answers:

Based on your scenario’s limited facts, it seems you were charged with some crime – such as assault on a female –  since there was a public defender (you are calling pretender). It also seems the offense was dismissed. The point is you do not have your children. I do not know from the scenario whether the children are with the other parent or in foster care with social services. There are two different answers –  depending on where the children are and in whose custody.

If the children are in the custody of social services, you should have a court-appointed attorney helping you. Dealing with social Sservices can be horrific, and you have to follow the steps laid out by social services to see your children. It would be best if you went to all the court dates. Hopefully, the children are just with the other parent or grandparents, and if so, your steps are more straightforward.

If the children are with the other parent or relatives, you need an attorney to help you file a civil action for child custody under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 50. You will attend a court-ordered child custody mediation, which gives you opportunities to settle the child custody dispute with the other parent or relatives. If the mediation does not resolve the case, you will be able to ask a judge for a schedule to see your children.



Send your questions on family law and divorce matters to “Ask Carolyn…” at, or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro, NC  27427. Please do not put identifying information in your questions. Note that the answers in “Ask Carolyn” are intended to provide general legal information, and the answers are not specific legal advice for your situation. The column also uses hypothetical questions. A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need in your individual case. Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by “Ask Carolyn…”