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Live in Atlanta, received divorce summons from Florida.

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Separated, and wife has filed for divorce from Florida. We have never lived in Florida during our marriage and we were married in Nashville. Basically she left for an old boyfriend and moved down there almost 3 yrs ago. I plan on answering the initial summons myself - I agree with everything in the summons except for one thing; alimony. She has been gone and working for 3 years, owns her own home, and has a BA degree. We have a 15 yr old son, who lives with me, and she has never paid child support. She is attempting alimony so that it will 'even out' with an child support she is going to have to pay. Any advice for this first step is appreciated, thank you.

So, what 'could' happen if I simply don't reply at all? Her attorney would file for default, but would that mean she would automatically be awarded the alimony? If she were, would Florida have the jurisdiction to pursue it? I would of course be granted a child support order, and would enforce it if she were not to pay it. I can do that through CS services here in Atlanta. I appreciate any and all help and advice given from you all. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Florida may not have personal jurisdiction over you to award alimony. In answering the summons yourself, you may waive the protection you have against being drawn into a Florida court when you are a resident of another state and do not have minimum contacts with Florida. If all of that sounds like a foreign language to you, then you should retain a lawyer.

    Representing yourself is a bit like not wearing a seat belt. Often you can get away with it, but if you are in an accident, you don't get a second chance to buckle up.

    The above is for informational and educational purposes only, does not establish an attorney client relationship, and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. The only legal advice offered is to have this matter reviewed and discussed by a competent attorney of your own choice.


  2. You should not file an answer. If you never lived in Florida , the State of Florida has no jurisdiction over you, By fiing an answer you waive your right to chalange jurisdiction and will then be forced to litigate the alimony issue here in Florida. Instead, you should file a Motion To Dismiss For Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. You should assert in that motion, which should be sworn to, that you never lived in Florida and further attach copies of your Tennessee driver's license, voter's regristration and any other docuement that would tend to establish that you live in Tennsessee and not Florida. You should also assert that Tennsessee is the "home state" for purposes of determining any child related issues such as custody and support. You should hire an experienced Family Law attorney to help you with this.


  3. Consult with a Florida attorney about filing a motion to dismiss the case in Florida for lack of jurisdiction. In addition, you have a child and need child support, your child's home state under the UCCJEA is Tennessee. Any actions regarding child support and alimony would best belong in TN. A local attorney can file to get the case transferred to Tennessee where you and the child reside.

    ** LEGAL DISCLAIMER ** This response above is not legal advice and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship. When responding to questions posted on Avvo, a general purpose response based on Florida law is provided. All relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter is not available. Therefore, I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, the review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel. Karen Munzer, PLLC, www.karenmunzer.com, E-Mail: kmunzerlaw@aol.com , Tel: (786) 501-6655


  4. You have an interesting little mess of a case. You did not say how long you were married or why you think she might have a right to alimony. The home state of your child could be the state you are in now if you and the child have lived there for at least 6 months. You absolutely need to file your motion to dismiss in florida before the end of the 20 days. By Florida law , you would have the right to 2 years of back child support; not sure what the law is in georgia. I am not criticizing the other attorney's response, and completely agree with the part about the motion to dismiss, but I don't know why the divorce should be filed in tennesee with noone living there (also, if noone lives there then the court probably has no jurisdiction to handle the case anyway. Get an attorney here and talk to one in georgia too.

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