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  1. #1
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Do I have rights to my own children?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? FLORIDA

    I lived with my ex for 8 years, we had 2 children together. Never married, no custody order. His name is on the birth certificate, and he signed a paternity acknowledgement.

    A few months ago, while he was at work- I took the kids and I left. I went to FL and we are currently living with my mother. My ex worked and was a good provider but he is addicted to benzos, marijuana and drinks a LOT.

    I have been a stay at home mom since my son was born. I am on disabilty for a severe anxiety disorder. I am a Yoga apprentice working toward becoming certified. 7 years ago I was charged with negligent child care for spanking and leaving marks on my first born. I plead no contest, and gave custody to her father. His wife adopted her and I gave up parental rights some years later. Immediately after this incident I voluntarially had a psychiatric evaluation when I was diagnosed with said anxiety disorder and have been on meds and in therapy ever since.

    I am divulging this information as I feel it is very important as reflection on my charector as a fit mother, and I know it would be brought up in court.

    I was sentenced to and did successfully complete 1 year of probation.

    My ex is demanding that I bring the children back to the state of NE, where we lived before, and where both children were born. He is implying that I am somehow legally in the wrong. I know this to be false but I want to know if the courts can order me to return the children to NE, or if I can be awarded soul custody.

    I realize my query is quite vague but in summary I am a mother who is afraid of losing her children, and unfamiliar with mothers rights in FL or NE- and which state takes presidence.

    Is possession 9/10ths of the law when it comes to custody?
    He hasnt seen the kids in nearly 3 months and has no interest in coming to any sort of agreement in regards to visitation.

    I have filed for child support but since it is in a different state a hearing will have to take place.

    I'm scared. I'm scared he will file for custody and I'll get nailed to the wall. I have applied for legal aid to establish custody but that takes time.
    Any insight, advice or information on custody law would be soooo appreciated.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You have not been in your current state long enough for that state to have jurisdiction. Your ex could very well file for the children to be returned to their home state and you would have to comply. If he does NOT file, you do not have to return, but you DO need to wait until you have been in Florida for 6 months before you can file anything there. And expect to pay the full cost of transportation so the children can visit their father at the end of it all, even if you do stay in Florida, since you created the distance.
  3. #3
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    You left a few months ago, like 3 months ago?

    If I were dad, I'd high tail it to court and have them order the kids be returned to the state.
  4. #4
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CourtClerk View Post
    You left a few months ago, like 3 months ago?

    If I were dad, I'd high tail it to court and have them order the kids be returned to the state.
    But it isn't dad here asking, if dad does nothing- which is what he has done until now, mom won't have to go anywhere. AND mom is establishing the children in a new school, which I know all too well seems to be the coup de grace when it come to custody.
  5. #5
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Yes I have my son enrolled in school. But not only that, he is autistic and I have him enrolled in a specialized socialization and communication program for autistic children. I also have him going to extra speech and OT. I told my ex that I would not just jerk him out of school, and that the small town we lived in previously did not have any special programs of this nature.

    And in response to prior response, when you say he could go to the courts and demand that the children be returned to home state, do you mean file for custody? I assume that's what you mean because I am not familiar with any other applicable petition.

    Thank you
  6. #6
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWFLmommy View Post
    Yes I have my son enrolled in school. But not only that, he is autistic and I have him enrolled in a specialized socialization and communication program for autistic children. I also have him going to extra speech and OT. I told my ex that I would not just jerk him out of school, and that the small town we lived in previously did not have any special programs of this nature.

    And in response to prior response, when you say he could go to the courts and demand that the children be returned to home state, do you mean file for custody? I assume that's what you mean because I am not familiar with any other applicable petition.

    Thank you
    Not only am I saying that, in response to your comment
    He is implying that I am somehow legally in the wrong. I know this to be false
    You shouldn't be too sure. You can't be charged with kidnapping or anything criminal... but you could be ordered to return the children.
  7. #7
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CourtClerk View Post
    Not only am I saying that, in response to your comment You shouldn't be too sure. You can't be charged with kidnapping or anything criminal... but you could be ordered to return the children.
    For a judge to order me to return the children, wouldn't he have to file for custody?
  8. #8
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWFLmommy View Post
    Yes I have my son enrolled in school. But not only that, he is autistic and I have him enrolled in a specialized socialization and communication program for autistic children. I also have him going to extra speech and OT. I told my ex that I would not just jerk him out of school, and that the small town we lived in previously did not have any special programs of this nature.

    And in response to prior response, when you say he could go to the courts and demand that the children be returned to home state, do you mean file for custody? I assume that's what you mean because I am not familiar with any other applicable petition.

    Thank you
    yes that is what he could do, but the longer he waits the less likely he is to prevail. that is the truth, the other truth is, that if dad showed up here or any other site we would all tell him to get his butt into court tomorrow morning.....
  9. #9
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
    yes that is what he could do, but the longer he waits the less likely he is to prevail. that is the truth, the other truth is, that if dad showed up here or any other site we would all tell him to get his butt into court tomorrow morning.....
    of course, any real father would have filed for legal visitation (or custody) the day after he discovered his children had been moved 1,500 miles away.
    I know I would have. The Father of my children is trying to scare me with criminal charges and injunctions, not filing for custody.
  10. #10
    legalgirl101 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWFLmommy View Post
    For a judge to order me to return the children, wouldn't he have to file for custody?
    Many times, filing for child support is the motivation the other parent appears to need to file for custody. Do not be surprised if he files for custody shortly after being summoned for the child support hearing.
  11. #11
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by legalgirl101 View Post
    Many times, filing for child support is the motivation the other parent appears to need to file for custody. Do not be surprised if he files for custody shortly after being summoned for the child support hearing.
    That makes a lot of sense. It isnt him filing for custody that I am concerned about. For one thing, I really dont think he will. For another thing, the kids have been here nearly long enough to establish residency and I cant see a judge yanking my autistic son out of his school program.
    What I am nervous about is some loophole I am not aware of. Some legality that would make me return the kids to NE.
    what I've learned from my research so far is that it is kidnapping if you do not tell the other parent where you have taken the kids and have no intent of ever informing them. I left a note, I told the neighbor and I have been in constant email and text with my ex. His mother is even coming for a visit.
    I have even tried to work out visitation arrangements.
    I do not think that merits kidnapping but even empty threats can be very intimidating.
    In addition I also told my ex that I was leaving weeks, even months prior to (although I didnt disclose where) and his mother told me that he informed her beforehand we were splitting up.
    Short of filing for custody or petitioning for legal visitation, I don't think he has a leg to stand on.
    Please tell me if I am wrong
  12. #12
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWFLmommy View Post
    That makes a lot of sense. It isnt him filing for custody that I am concerned about. For one thing, I really dont think he will. For another thing, the kids have been here nearly long enough to establish residency and I cant see a judge yanking my autistic son out of his school program.
    What I am nervous about is some loophole I am not aware of. Some legality that would make me return the kids to NE.
    what I've learned from my research so far is that it is kidnapping if you do not tell the other parent where you have taken the kids and have no intent of ever informing them. I left a note, I told the neighbor and I have been in constant email and text with my ex. His mother is even coming for a visit.
    I have even tried to work out visitation arrangements.
    I do not think that merits kidnapping but even empty threats can be very intimidating.
    In addition I also told my ex that I was leaving weeks, even months prior to (although I didnt disclose where) and his mother told me that he informed her beforehand we were splitting up.
    Short of filing for custody or petitioning for legal visitation, I don't think he has a leg to stand on.
    Please tell me if I am wrong
    Does dad have your current address?
  13. #13
    SWFLmommy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
    Does dad have your current address?
    yes ma'am. I even sent him a christmas card with pictures and a return address
  14. #14
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    The legal reality is that NE is currently the home state and you removed the child from the jurisdiction without permission of the courts or dad. That puts you legally in the wrong and dad could ask for the child to be ordered returned to the state even if he only files for visitation and not custody. Maybe he wants to see the child every other weekend instead of just a few times a year. Maybe he wants to be able to participate in the child's school and activities. You have removed his ability to be a part of kiddo's daily life and a judge will NOT look too kindly on that.
  15. #15
    stealth2 is offline Senior Member
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    Oh, and... expect that, if the children ARE allowed to remain in FL, that you will be paying the bulk of the transportation for visitation. Which will likely include chunks of time at holidays, school breaks and summer.

    So why DID you move?
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