I live in Washington state. My ex wife filed for divorce and custody of my daughter in California about 6 years ago(They now live in Guam). I was in jail at the time and never contested the parenting plan, which was no contact with my daughter until I completed some assessments. Now that I am getting on the right path I do not remember what I was supposed to do. I was on the wrong path in life for those 6 years. Even though I was not paying my child support and not working I was still sending her money periodically and she was allowing me phone contact with my daughter a couple times a year. Now that i have told her that I will be sending all money directly to child support so my balance will go down she said she is permanently cutting off contact. What is the steps I take to fix this?
Family Law Attorney
"What is the steps I take to fix this?" If you and your former wife cannot agree to things outside of court, you will need to go to court to get orders.
You should review your specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.
Given that none of the mother, father, or daughter is now living in CA, CA likely no longer has jurisdiction over the case although it was the state that entered the last orders. The place with the jurisdiction likely is Guam because that is where the daughter has been living since 6 years ago. Guam is a part of the US. However, Guam likely licenses its attorneys and has its own laws. You likely will need to find an attorney licensed in Guam.
In WA, family law proceedings often take nearly a year to complete especially if the parties do not agree. I imagine that Guam does not do things much quicker.
In WA, a person with a history similar to yours (jail/prison, long-term minimal contact with the child) would be placed in a program that gradually increases contact between the child and parent. If your history include certain things (such as sex abuse of the child or any child), there may never be any contact. If you qualify for increasing contact, that may take several years before you have unsupervised overnight time with the child.
You likely should check on how soon the child will be a legal adult. Once she is a legal adult, she can decide on her own whether to have any contact with you.
Given the distance between Guam and WA, you likely will also need to think about the cost of getting from one place to the other.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
First, you need to get a copy of your parenting plan/custody order from the court in California to review the provisions for your future contact with your daughter.
Since neither parent or the child continues to reside in Califorma, that state no longer has jurisdiction to make decisions regrading your contact. Your next step will be to locate an attorney in Guam to be able to enforce the provisions of the custody order. Be able to furnish a copy of the CA order and discuss how this would be enforced or modified in Guam.
The next step is going to depend on what you and your Guam counsel decide to do.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Pierce is licensed to practice law in Washing with an office in Seattle and services clients in all parts of Washington. He can be reached at 206-587-3757 or at the email address at piercefamilylaw.com Mr. Pierce is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Washington law. This response is only in the form of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Pierce strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.