What State Has Custody Jurisdiction

by Amthierry 2013-07-22
My question involves a child custody case from the State of:FL/MI

My friend lives here in Michigan with her 2 boys, they have lived here for over 2 1/2 years. One of the boys was born here and had Heart surgery at U of M when he was born and continues to have his checkups there, and their father lives in Florida. Back in late November of 2010, my friend went to visit her parents in Floida with the boys because she was in her last months of pregnancy and was having some health problems, so she was going to stay with them in order to have her mother help her for a few months. Neither boys were old enough to be in school then.

While she was there, she allowed her estranged husband to have visits with the boys. He then went down and filed for a divorce while she was in Florida. He convinced her that she needed to get a Florida driver's license and sign the papers to get the divorce going before she had the baby or he would legally be the father because they were still married. Neither of them had an attorney for this whole thing. Her being young and nieve, went along with all of this, al the while planning to return to Michigan after the birth of the baby. She never thought that he would object to the boys returning home to Michigan with her since he never mentioned anything different. He new that she had maintained her home here in Michigan.

While she was there, they went to the first court date with a magistrate and a temporary order was entered saying that she couldn't remove the boys from Florida without her husbands or the courts permission. Of course she did bring them back to Michigan anyway. In the months to come, she has tried everything, short of jumping thru hoops for that state, but unfortunately, without an attorney, the divorce was eventually granted and they have joint custody but she is supposed to either move back to Florida or give the boys to her ex. The youngest boy hardley even knows him at all and he is the one with the heart problems (he is 2).

My friend, and even I, have tried to talk to her ex about some kind of agreement for a long distance parenting plan, some kind of fair visitaion, (one boy is in school here), just about anything but he just won't. She can't afford any of the attorneys that she's talked with, what can she do? Does Florida have any jurisdiction at all? She didn't change her license until a few days after the divorce was filed and neither she nor the boys were residents for 6 months there, they were only there for about 41/2 moths total and she did fly back to Michigan once during that time. Can't she file something here in Michigan. Do the judges in Florida even consider the welfare of the child emotionally when they are issuing these orders? I know the children better than their own father does. He only calls when he feels like it, won't give her the back support that he owes her, even went as far as to have his brother claim the one boy on his taxes so the she wouldn't get his tax return for the back support. He doesn't even send the Christmas or Birthday cards or presents. If he can't even do that, how is going to take care of them down there? He doesn't even have any family other that his 19 yr old brother that lives in the state. Who is going to watch the kids while he's at work? Just seems a little irresponsible on the court's part and on his.

Can someone please give some good advice? She is desperate, June and the end of school is almost here!!!!
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Anna_21
She moved to Florida, established a permanent address for herself and the children, obtained a driver's license reciting that permanent address, consented to the state's jurisdiction over the divorce and custody case, litigated the case to its conclusion, and chose not to either obtain permission from the court to relocate back to Michigan or to appeal any denial of permission. For now, she can expect to have to live with the consequences of her choices. From what you have told us so far, she will need to litigate any effort to modify the order or to get permission to move through the Florida court that has continuing jurisdiction over her custody case.

If there are possible avenues of relief that aren't apparent from your post, perhaps a lawyer can help her identify and pursue them. To put it mildly, when she represents herself she's not very good at looking out for her own interests.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Carolineh
She didn't move to Florida, she kept her residence here in michigan and only went to stay with her mother temporarily due to medical reasons. She applied for a Florida license after her husband filed for the divorce because she was told she had to. And she did try to file appeals with the court in Florida while she was back here in michigan She was only in Florda for the filing. She was here in Michigan for the rest of the proceedings and the court had her address here the entire time. They let her do her do a phone appearance.

What consequences are you referring to?
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Dougiezerts
She did establish residency in Florida and she did indeed submit to Florida's jurisdiction.

Consequences may include being told to make a choice between moving back to Florida or handing over custody to Dad.

She can actually face sanctions if she refuses to obey the court - and that appears to be what she's doing but refusing to abide by the current decree.

She needs an attorney.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Heathers
Ranting isn't going to change anything.

Mom should re-read Mr Knowitall's post. She has indeed submitted to Florida having jurisdiction, because that's where she agreed to litigate the matter and she is now showing the court that she has no interest in obeying the court - she needs to understand how poorly that will reflect on her.

She's made some poor choices, I'm afraid - she's now going to have to make some even more difficult decisions.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Hazel
How do you figure she established residency in Florida when she still had a home here in Michigan that during this time, came back to, and then back to Florida? I'm just not understanding. If I go to another state for a few months then I've established residency there? I also don't understand how Florida can order somenone to either move there or give up their children!! First of all, is Florida going to pay for the move and find her a job to support herself and her children? I don' think so. I guess it would be in her best interest to abide by Florida's order and move herself and the kids there, collect welfare, and live in a shelter or in the car. That would be great for everyone!!! Does Florida even bother to think about the children's emotional well being? It doesn't sound like it!! Those boys have lived in Michigan all but a few months of their lives, the 2 year old has a heart doctor here a U of M children's hospital, and they've never been away from their mother for more than a week tops! They don't really even know the father, he never showed much interest. So am I to assume that Florida doesn't consider this type of stuff and she should just ship the kids 1800 miles away? What kind of mother would do either one of those options? A pretty worthless mother would do something like Florida is ordering. I would like to know how Florida has any jurisdiction over her or the boys. Seems like Michigan would, that is now and always has been their home state. Florida needs to start to consider the mental anquish and trauma they are causing the children involved in their thoughtless court orders!!! And yes, she knows she needs a lawyer. She has known that from the start but hasn't had the money for one, she chose to take care of her children, provide food, clothing, a roof over their head, and medical treatment. How sad to think that she will be condemned for not being wealthy and choosing her children instead of lawyer fees!!!! Once again, the one with the most money wins and who cares what's right!!!
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Ineedhelpplease
Why can't she just file som kind of motion in Michigan? And I'm not ranting, I just think that the best interest of the children should be considered and I still want to know how Florida would think it to be logical to tell her to move or hand the kids over. Doesn't seem to be very logical too me. Like I said, the one with the most money wins, whether it's right or wrong.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Robin12
No kidding. She knows that she needs a lawyer, she can't afford one in case you missed that part. Don't suggest legal aid either, she's tried that from the beginning and they don't handle this stuff. She had no idea that all of this was going to happen when she went to court the first time in Florida. Her husband and the court mislead her and she actually thought that it made sense because she was there at that time and he was going to pay to file. Of course she made a mistake, she's not an attorney. If she was, then she wouldn't need one would she? Don't forget that neither she or the kids were residents in florida for 6 months. They were barely there for 4 months, if that. They were residents of Michigan, with established addresses and more there. The next time I need to file a case, I'll make sure I make trip somewhere and file with the court there, change my license, and I will autmatically be a resident wherever I'm at.

Are you an attorney? If so, maybe you can at least clarify where she needs to get one. She can't get a straight answer out of any that she has talked with.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by Ophirsela
Why can't she just file som kind of motion in Michigan?

Because Michigan doesn't have jurisdiction. The other party is - correctly - simply going to file and have it dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

And I'm not ranting, I just think that the best interest of the children should be considered and I still want to know how Florida would think it to be logical to tell her to move or hand the kids over.

Because that's what Mom agreed to, by submitting to Florida having jurisdiction. SHE made the choice. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at Mom.

Then according to the filings, Florida (remembering that Mom agreed to Florida being the correct place for this to be litigated) then ordered her to not remove the children.

Mom then disobeyed the court - what do you think that tells the court, seriously?


Doesn't seem to be very logical too me. Like I said, the one with the most money wins, whether it's right or wrong.
It's not about money.

Really - it's not. She didn't have to litigate the matter in Florida; that she decided to (whether she was wrongly advised or not isn't really the point) is not the fault of the court.

Honestly though? She needs an attorney. She doesn't need a friend asking strangers on the Internet.
Re:What State Has Custody Jurisdiction
by gloriana
No kidding. She knows that she needs a lawyer, she can't afford one in case you missed that part. Don't suggest legal aid either, she's tried that from the beginning and they don't handle this stuff.

Then she best learn how to litigate her own situation.

She had no idea that all of this was going to happen when she went to court the first time in Florida. Her husband and the court mislead her and she actually thought that it made sense because she was there at that time and he was going to pay to file.

I strongly doubt the court misled her. It simply sounds like a case of her agreeing to something she didn't understand.

Of course she made a mistake, she's not an attorney. If she was, then she wouldn't need one would she?
Vickie, you might want to be a little less tetchy if you want to receive more help for your friend. That aside, many litigants successfully win their cases after doing a lot of research and studying.

If she cannot or won't put in the effort, there's really not much else to say about that part.


Don't forget that neither she or the kids were residents in florida for 6 months. They were barely there for 4 months, if that. They were residents of Michigan, with established addresses and more there.

You keep misunderstanding what you're being told.

The next time I need to file a case, I'll make sure I make trip somewhere and file with the court there, change my license, and I will autmatically be a resident wherever I'm at.
Ditto my previous response.

Are you an attorney? If so, maybe you can at least clarify where she needs to get one. She can't get a straight answer out of any that she has talked with.
No, I am not.

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