Visitation With Untrustworthy Parent
by Anonymous Mom from Florida
I've had physical custody of my son and daughter for 5 to 6 years since my separation with their father. Since then, their father moved out of the country and my children were visiting every summer and spent time with his family during the Christmas holidays.
He just returned to Florida last year and has been demanding for our children to visit with him every other weekend and not making any effort to pick them up or drop them off (arrangements were always made in the past).
To make matters worse, he has committed fraud with DCF and SS. Receiving direct payments and not reporting changes to the appropriate departments. I was summoned to go to court on child support for one of my children because he included our child so that he can receive benefits.
The judge dismissed the case because 1. he did not appear, and 2. I filed a motion of dismissal proving my child lives with me and it was granted.
Should I immediately file for full custody? I don't trust him and I feel he will retaliate and since we don't have a court order he will maybe try and remove my children from school and whatever else he can think of. How would the judge view this case?
Answer to Florida Child Custody Question
Protect yourself and your kids. What your ex does with regards to his representations to the court and government services should not be your problem.
I have some questions. Why haven't you two divorced? Are you married to him? If your are married, why haven't you made your separation legal and filed for divorce
All the parenting, custody, and visitation issues you are having can be formally ordered and settled by the court.
If you aren't married, I would suggest you file for a Petition to Determine Paternity, Form 12.983(a)
so that you can get all of these issues resolved once and for all.
There's plenty of information on this site that can help you get things in order if you go without a lawyer.
But, if you can afford it, I would suggest you talk to a lawyer. There seems to be other issues here that can adversely affect you and your kids.
You sound like a good mother who wants the best for her children and you have been very reasonable with the time-sharing and visitation issues. I suggest you get a formal court order as soon as possible.Notice:
We provide these answers
to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.
If you need legal advice, we recommend LagalMatch's free Lawyer Referral Service. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. Get the legal advice you deserve.Free Family Lawyer Referral
You Are Here → Home › Custody FAQs › Visitation With Untrustworthy Parent