I have 2 children with my ex, they were born in FL and she moved to MA when we split up. While there she obtained a divorce and full custody/child support. When she returned to FL where I live she allowed me frequent visitations the kids and eventually asked me to keep them full time. She never wanted to willingly convert/change the court order to FL for custody. She has nothing to do with them and never sees them. I have now had them over 2 years but never gained legal custody and have had a child support case against me by DOR. They once erased all the child support owed by me when I provided statements to the courts the kids are with me. They DOR has even sent notices of her being the new obligor but I do not see updates pertaining this. I have seen recent activity on the case where I am obligor that there was a modification of child support filed then a return or proof of service. I never recieved paperwork? Most recently was a caseload reassignment then civ/fam-all reopen event closed. What does this even mean? Can I file for full custody/child support or her abandonment of the kids? Will the MA order play a role since they've been back in FL 4 years and with me only for 2?
I never like my main response to be, "Talk to a lawyer," but you have some complicated issues and you should sit down with a family law attorney in your area (many give free consultations). With the few details here, it would seem that you need to Domesticate the MA order to FL since everyone now lives here. You should then file a Supplemental Petition to Modify the Timesharing so that it is in the papers that the children live with you...child support should also be addressed - and that may have to involve the Department of Revenue. As I said, some complicated issues so do talk to an attorney to get the best advice.
This response is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to fully discuss your issues.
It amazes me that people like you will go years in a situation like this without speaking to an actual live attorney about what your legal rights, responsibilities, and options are moving forward. You should never have let this situation progress to this point. What could easily happen at this point is she is served with the child support paperwork and decides to show up on your doorstep and take the kids from you to avoid having a child support obligation. She can easily do this right now since you haven't bothered getting the custody order modified.
Modifying a custody order takes a court proceeding. Unless your ex is currently in Massachussetts, then the case can be brought down here in Florida. If she is living in Massachussetts, then it is possible that you might be required to go back to a Massachussetts court to get the issue determined. It depends on what is required under Massachussetts law; you will need to ask an attorney in that state for advice.
Note that there is only ONE state in the entire country that has not adopted a version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). So that sortof complicates your situation. No matter what, you really need legal help and should be evaluating which attorney to hire not whether to hire an attorney.
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I agree with the advice my colleagues here have given you. From what you are saying, you likely would need to domesticate the order from Massachusetts and incorporate that into a new case. It will most likely benefit you and the children to have your time sharing modified, to reflect the current situation. This will also affect the child support situation which, I agree, may also need to be dealt with separately with DOR. If you have been living with the kids full-time for two years, that will likely be instructive to what a Florida judge would do, but it will depend on many factors, possibly most importantly, what the mother decides to do in response.
You will probably need the assistance of a lawyer, as these would be somewhat complicated issues to tackle yourself.
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