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How do I reopen my divorce case after 3 years?

Tampa, FL |

My ex filed for divorce in a different county using an address I had just been evicted from after 6 years. He then went to court and said that he had no idea of my whereabouts. He was at my home on a regular basis the entire time he was going to court against me. He got a default judgement with full custody and child support. After getting the judgement he fled the state of FL with my 3yr old son to Alaska where he has had him for three years. Since being there my ex has been charged with child neglect on more than one occasion.

I can't afford an attorney and for some unknown reason I don't qualify for any legal assistance programs. Been trying to do myself getting really overwhelming but I think I need to file a motion to set aside default or default judgement.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. You have to file a petition for modification and serve him in Alaska.


  2. You're going to have a very difficult time trying to handle this without an attorney and should seek help through any legal clinic or court sponsored program available in your county. You need to seek to modify the judgment, ASAP.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.


  3. Did you also ask about Child Support in a different question?

    This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. Carin Manders Constantine, Esq. 727-456-0032/ 727-488-8272 familylawyer411.com/about-carin https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Law-Offices-of-Carin-M-Constantine/125967577416313 http://www.linkedin.com/pub/carin-constantine/b/861/445


  4. 3 years is a long time to do nothing however you should be able to file to re-open the case in FL.


  5. My colleagues are correct, (1) why did you wait 3 years to find your child? and (2) you need to file a motion to modify final judgment. It is important to at least get in front of the judge to discuss your issues. There are jurisdictional issues that may arise regarding the child since he has been in Alaska for 3 years. If you could find a way at all to retain counsel it would be in your best interest. There are a lot of issues in this case.

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