If You Want Speedy Justice, Head for Criminal Court, Not Family Court

In the criminal courts, the defendant can insist on speedy justice.

Not so the litigants in family court, which often operates in a virtual time warp.

Husband and Wife live in North Carolina. They have two children.

Wife files for divorce.

North Carolina Court grants permission for Wife to relocate to Rhode Island, but allows for visitation by Husband each month in both states.

The Wife reportedly tries to block Husband’s visitation and cut Husband out of the children’s lives by accusing Husband of everything from harsh discipline of the children to neglecting them to watch pornography on the internet.

Wife also obtains an injunction for protection against domestic violence, or order of protection, against Husband – in Rhode Island.

Not buying it, the North Carolina Court orders Wife to return with the children to live in North Carolina.

Unhappy with the North Carolina ruling, Wife tries to do an end run around the North Carolina courts and seeks emergency jurisdiction in Rhode Island.

Which Rhode Island’s family courts exercise … repeatedly.

Having apparently exhausted his remedies in North Carolina, Husband appeals in Rhode Island.

And Husband wins …

A mere seven years later.

The reasons Husband wins are because:

  1. North Carolina validly exercised jurisdiction in the first place and
  2. Emergency jurisdiction is inherently temporary in nature
  3. .

Read more in this Providence Journal news blog post: R.I. Supreme Court: Mother, children must return to N.C.