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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.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

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

Posted

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.

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Asker

Posted

I've tried applying to the legal clinics and was told there funding did not provide assistance for my type of case. I though I could possibly take it back on extrinsic fraud as he set out with the intent to deceive the courts in order to gain custody of our son. He planned this and it took him a long time to pull it off. This has been mentally and emotionally devistating. The confusion and fear of doing the wrong thing in this legal system. Very difficult to undo what seemed to be so easy for him to do. I have the proof, I just don't know how to present it.

Posted

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

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Asker

Posted

Yes, same case. There are so many layers, I fee like I'm in a "Lifetime Movie" nightmare...

Posted

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

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Waiting, so that's what they call it. I've been trying to get assistance with this case since I became aware of what was going on. I have been turned down by every "so called" legal aid that I applied to from Seminole, Orange, Osceola and Hillsborough County while I was "waiting". I lost everything and ended up homeless living in a vehicle while I was "waiting". This isn't the type of case that has lawyers lined up to take on even at a regular rate, it took my ex a long time to do this. So I'm representing myself. I was going to file last year and found a writ of bodily attachement. It has taken me almost a year to save up the purge so I can file my motions. I just found this forum and have had the opportunity to ask specific questions that will at least help with what to do.