Local News

Raleigh woman fights Family Court with signs

Posted October 12, 2009 5:10 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2009 9:48 p.m. EDT

— Frustrated after years of dealing with delays in the Wake County Family Court system, Tonya Boykin has posted her problems on signs in front of her Raleigh home.

Boykin originally filed her case in 2006, but it has been postponed repeatedly. She said she is in danger of having her utilities turned off and losing her home which she shares with her two children.

“It’s like a vicious cycle, and you're so torn down and you're just screaming inside to ‘please stop, just stop it,’” Boykin said.

Boykin has placed three signs on her property. Some of the signs attack District Judge Christine Walczyk.

Walczyk said she can't speak about the specifics in the case, but Wake County Chief District Judge Robert Rader said the system has improved since it started three years ago.

“The time from filing to the time of disposition of the case has been decreased drastically,” Rader said.

Rader said the county has decreased the caseload in Family Court from about 750 cases per judge, to around 400.

Family court judges have case managers, who oversee cases in an effort to prevent long delays.

Rader admits that, while delays still occur, officials set strict time-lines for these cases and try to adhere to them.

“We can't just snap our fingers and resolve it all. It takes time, following the law, the legal process to work through the various issues,” Rader said.

For Boykin, time is running out.

“I want to be able to take care of my kids. I want to move on with my life, and I want some peace in my home,” she said.

Boykin said she should be getting $3,300 in child support, instead of the $900 she is currently being paid by ex-husband Herculano Patino.

Patino said he is paying the court-ordered amount.

“Neither of the parties were completely happy with the judgment entered by Judge Walczyk. Both parties have pending motions regarding that order," said Debbie Sandlin, Patino's attorney.

Sandlin said a court date has been set for February 2010, but she would like it sooner as well.