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Interstate Support (MN --> FL) Florida

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  • Interstate Support (MN --> FL) Florida

    So here's our situation and then I'll get to the questions...

    My husband (biological father) has custody of our boy... Has since he was 9 mos old and his xwife has visitation. We started dating when he was 2 and got married, now he's 9. He has a recognized disability through MN (autism and speech delay) which we get medical assistance for. He hasn't seen his biological mom since about 3 and she hasn't called since 5, and she has never paid any child support (about 18K in debt) and has moved about 3-4 times without telling us (she lives in FL). He doesn't really know who she is (althougth we have explained that he has a biological mom who gave birth to him and then his dad raised him and found mom and we became a family and he's content with that explanation and has expressed no interest in learning more about his biological mom).

    So my greatest fear is that if anything ever happens to my husband (if he died), that I would have no legal rights to raise our boy (or even see him?), even though I've been jointly raising him since 2 and that the states would likely send him to his biological mom... so he would love his dad, lose him mom (me), lose seeing his biological little sister, and with his disability he wouldn't understand any of it and we would lose all the positive ground we have made with his therapy and be terrified and alone....

    So, onto the questions... Is there anything that we can do to reduce risk in the event of my greatest fear being realized...

    - can you terminate parental rights in florida for lack of payment of child support or lack of contact or moving w/o notification? (I thought you could only do it if you thought they were abusive?)

    -does it do any good to us to try and enforce the child support order? How would we do that? We don't need to do it for the money, but would enforcing it and the lack of payment be information courts would care about with any type of legal battle in the future? We called MN CSEA and they said there is nothing we can do because FL won't enforce the child support order (because biological mom doesn't work, so can't be forced to pay anything because she has other kids she raises.... which is sort of true but she does run her own independent business which counts as work and she gets sales from it, but you can't garnish wages from her sales and her income tax returns will always be low)... and they said even if we hired a lawyer in FL that would do no good... So is it worth pursuing, if so, any suggestions?

    - is there anything we can set up in our custody agreement related to the disability?? (could we change the agreement to reduce or adjust visitation, since she hasn't seen the boy in 5 years and with his disability and limited awareness/understanding of her, if she suddenly decides to jump back into his life, I don't want to freak him out by forcing an out of state visitation with someone he doesn't know. (if she really wanted to get involved and come visit a few times to get to know him again, that would be one thing, but visitation without our supervision at first would be too confusing/scary)

    So I'm sure I have other questions I'll wish I asked, and sorry this is so long winded, but if there is any input/suggestions you might have that would be great. The one thing we did do was put in my husbands will that I will raise the boy if anything ever happened (although our lawyer explained that that probably won't do any good), and we set up a trust fund so if we both go (die) for some reason the money would go to someone who managed it for our son, rather than allow his biological mom to have access to it (as we wouldn't want her to take him for the wrong reasons).

    Thoughts? Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by tripper View Post
    So here's our situation and then I'll get to the questions...

    My husband (biological father) has custody of our boy... Has since he was 9 mos old and his xwife has visitation. We started dating when he was 2 and got married, now he's 9. He has a recognized disability through MN (autism and speech delay) which we get medical assistance for. He hasn't seen his biological mom since about 3 and she hasn't called since 5, and she has never paid any child support (about 18K in debt) and has moved about 3-4 times without telling us (she lives in FL). He doesn't really know who she is (althougth we have explained that he has a biological mom who gave birth to him and then his dad raised him and found mom and we became a family and he's content with that explanation and has expressed no interest in learning more about his biological mom).

    So my greatest fear is that if anything ever happens to my husband (if he died), that I would have no legal rights to raise our boy (or even see him?), even though I've been jointly raising him since 2 and that the states would likely send him to his biological mom... so he would love his dad, lose him mom (me), lose seeing his biological little sister, and with his disability he wouldn't understand any of it and we would lose all the positive ground we have made with his therapy and be terrified and alone....

    So, onto the questions... Is there anything that we can do to reduce risk in the event of my greatest fear being realized...

    - can you terminate parental rights in florida for lack of payment of child support or lack of contact or moving w/o notification? (I thought you could only do it if you thought they were abusive?)

    -does it do any good to us to try and enforce the child support order? How would we do that? We don't need to do it for the money, but would enforcing it and the lack of payment be information courts would care about with any type of legal battle in the future? We called MN CSEA and they said there is nothing we can do because FL won't enforce the child support order (because biological mom doesn't work, so can't be forced to pay anything because she has other kids she raises.... which is sort of true but she does run her own independent business which counts as work and she gets sales from it, but you can't garnish wages from her sales and her income tax returns will always be low)... and they said even if we hired a lawyer in FL that would do no good... So is it worth pursuing, if so, any suggestions?

    - is there anything we can set up in our custody agreement related to the disability?? (could we change the agreement to reduce or adjust visitation, since she hasn't seen the boy in 5 years and with his disability and limited awareness/understanding of her, if she suddenly decides to jump back into his life, I don't want to freak him out by forcing an out of state visitation with someone he doesn't know. (if she really wanted to get involved and come visit a few times to get to know him again, that would be one thing, but visitation without our supervision at first would be too confusing/scary)

    So I'm sure I have other questions I'll wish I asked, and sorry this is so long winded, but if there is any input/suggestions you might have that would be great. The one thing we did do was put in my husbands will that I will raise the boy if anything ever happened (although our lawyer explained that that probably won't do any good), and we set up a trust fund so if we both go (die) for some reason the money would go to someone who managed it for our son, rather than allow his biological mom to have access to it (as we wouldn't want her to take him for the wrong reasons).

    Thoughts? Thanks!
    Where was the divorce done? In MN, or in FL?

    It sounds like your husband will have grounds for termination of rights based on abandonment. Are you willing to legally adopt? If so, it will make things alot easier, and it's really the only way to make sure the mother can never take custody if something happens to your husband. Sadly, right now you have zero legal rights, and that's a shame in your situation.

    Has your husband spoken to his ex about the possibilty of a TPR and adoption? If not, he should do so and then go from there.
    Your husband should get a consult with an attorney to see exactly what the procedure will be if mom decides to refuse to voluntarily relinquish her rights.

    Comment


    • #3
      Xena -
      Thanks for the response. The divorce was done in Lousiana, then the child custody agreement was done in OH (we lived there last) and that's the same agreement still in place in MN (we have not yet amended it in MN).

      I would love to adopt and have been trying to but unsuccessful. We have called the biological mom in 04 asking to adopt, and emailed her about once every 6 months, and she has had no response (but she did post in a website like this once to other folks that she would never give up her rights and allow me to adopt, so I think her position is she would not allow it). I had thought that just abandonment is not grounds for termination of rights, do you know how I could find out... I'm guessing that would be the discussion with the attorney, do you think we should hire one in Florida (because it would go by Floridas rule on TPR cause she lives there), or hire one in MN (cause we live here?) She sent one package about a year or two ago, would that mean that that was contact and therefore not abandonment?

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tripper View Post
        Xena -
        Thanks for the response. The divorce was done in Lousiana, then the child custody agreement was done in OH (we lived there last) and that's the same agreement still in place in MN (we have not yet amended it in MN).

        I would love to adopt and have been trying to but unsuccessful. We have called the biological mom in 04 asking to adopt, and emailed her about once every 6 months, and she has had no response (but she did post in a website like this once to other folks that she would never give up her rights and allow me to adopt, so I think her position is she would not allow it). I had thought that just abandonment is not grounds for termination of rights, do you know how I could find out... I'm guessing that would be the discussion with the attorney, do you think we should hire one in Florida (because it would go by Floridas rule on TPR cause she lives there), or hire one in MN (cause we live here?) She sent one package about a year or two ago, would that mean that that was contact and therefore not abandonment?

        Thanks!
        With so many state's being involved, the situation is a bit tricky. The best thing to do would be to get a consult with a local attorney to see exactly what state will have jurisdiction.

        Comment

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