Child Custody Fight & Domestic Violence Allegations
by Terry from Florida
My wife and I went to court yesterday in Florida. I filed for dissolution of marriage, Uniform child custody jurisdiction enforcement act and a verified emergency motion for ex parte temporary injunction compelling return of minor child to the jurisdiction of the state of Florida.
To make a long story short....my wife and I had a dispute on a Saturday in Florida where she called the police "alleging" I hit her. I never raised one finger to hit her. + The responding officer came to our house to find NO evidence what so ever.
He took both our statements and recommend i stay with my parents that night..He gave me that option..I wasn't forced in any way to leave the residence but I did...I came back to house that next day (which was Sunday)..we were fine..no arguing or fighting.. so the next day (Monday afternoon Oct 4)
I came home from work and she was gone...taken herself and our children to Ohio (I assumed)..not telling me anything..the only way I knew was because most of the kids clothing were gone...so Tuesday morning she filed a Order of Protection against me in Ohio (that's where she's from but had been staying in Florida for the past four years).
I immediately hired an attorney here in Florida to try and get my kids back in Florida....fast forward to yesterday, Oct 21 we had a court date to try and get my children back in Florida. After all was said, the judge said she couldn't make a ruling on the case until she knows what happens with the order of protection in Ohio.
I was told she could have still ordered the children back to Florida. My lawyer and I was ####... I haven't seen or heard from my kids (5 and 1) since Oct 4 and I don't go to court on the Order of protection till Nov 4 in Ohio.
I just hired an attorney in Ohio to try and get this order dismissed because it's playing a major role in my being able to see my children even though all the research of Florida statues clearly states that the children are FLORIDA residents. Any advice or comments will be appreciated!
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
Your attorney has his work cut out for him, I hope he’s up to it.
The federal law that governs interstate child custody and visitation is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA).
In general, a child is a resident of the state where the child has resided for the previous six months.
It generally takes six months to establish residency in another state, just as it takes that same period of time in Florida. However, the moment your wife alleged domestic violence, everything changed.
Until the issue of domestic violence is dismissed, not prosecuted, or the Order of Protection is denied, jurisdiction is correctly in Ohio. The theory is that a victim of domestic violence has a right, and even an obligation, to flee to safety and take her children with her.
In your case, since there was no arrest, and the officer made no finding that there was domestic violence, it might be simple. However, there are a lot of ifs involved. If your wife is adamant that you hit her, and just didn’t leave a mark; if your wife testifies that she is afraid of you, that you might kill her; if the judge believes your wife and not you; then you have a battle on your hands.
That’s why I said your attorney has his work cut out for him. My suggestion is that your goal should be to get that Order of Protection dismissed. Then follow through on your efforts to have the judge order the children back to Florida.
If the judge believes that your wife vindictively took the children away, she could be in a lot of trouble. That is the argument your attorney will likely make.
Florida family law always puts the best interests of the children before all other considerations. Your attorney needs to convince the judge, that not only are you not a wife beater, but that your wife is vindictive and your children are much better off having frequent contact with you.
Your wife can move to Ohio if she wants, but she cannot take the children with her in an underhanded manner. What she has done amounts to parental abduction. Notice:
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