I was married for 6 years in NC. About 14 months ago, my wife left me for another man.
I assume that they were having an affair a few months before we actually split-up. Which was 5 days before Christmas 2011. We have a 6 year old daughter between us. When I was asked to move out, she agreed to let me take my daughter with me so long as I promised to bring her back by Christmas Eve. My daughter and I stayed with my mother
in Newport News, VA for those 5 days. And as agreed, I brought my daughter back on Christmas Eve. At the time, I had hopes of reconciling things between us since it was the holidays. My wife refused to talk about it, and told me to go back to VA. I had no where else to go at the time.
On New Years Day 2012, I called to speak to my daughter. I was then informed that my wife had already moved a new man into the home. In fact, he moved in Christmas Eve right after I left. I later found out he left "his" wife to move in with mine. He's still married too.
I begged my wife to let me come back to NC and pick my daughter back up and bring her back with me to VA. She agreed on the condition that I brought her back by her B-Day on the 18th of January. As promised I brought back. In fact, I brought her a back on the 17th so she could have a B-Day party on the 18th.
A few weeks later, I came back to NC and found a place to live about 10 miles away. I didn't have the money to hire an attorney at the time, so we never filed for divorce or even filed for an official separation. My focus was really centered around being a Dad to my daughter. We agreed that we were going to get divorced (eventually) Her only stipulation was that we kept the courts out of it when it came to how we handled arrangements with our daughter. We verbally agreed to 50/50 shared custody. Her exact words were "so long as I didn't give her a reason not to... she would keep to that agreement". Our daughter was to be with me on Tuesdays,Thursdays, and and every other weekend.
The agreement, for the most part, worked for next few months into the Summer.
Her boyfriend made more money me. My wife eventually quit her job and basically became dependent on his income. Then he suddenly quits his job and sought work outside of the State of NC. He landed a job in Ohio. They didn't tell me until about 2 weeks before they left that they were moving and taking my daughter with them. She left 2 kids from a previous marriage behind in NC with their Dad.
I was faced with the choice of moving along also... or starting World War III with her. Since I worked online and can basically earn a living anywhere. I chose to keep the peace and relocate to Ohio also. I did this for my daughter. July 2012, we were all living in OH.
I never caused problems between them. My main focus has always been for my daughter. When Summer ended, my daughter started Kindergarten. I picked her up every Tuesday,Thursday and every other weekend. They provided the medical Insurance for my daughter, but I paid her premiums directly to them. Anytime they needed money for whatever reason, I offered to give it to them and just asked that they spend it on my daughter, instead of paying me back.
Through all of this I have done my best to be peaceful and cooperative.
By Christmas, the 1 year separation had passed, and I was considering filing for a divorce in the State of Ohio. They seemed to be OK with it... so long as I agreed to keep our daughter out of it and dealt with her outside of the courts.
January 2013, her boyfriend loses his job (again). Early February 2013 they inform me (2 weeks ago) that they were now moving to Florida. She used her Tax Return to finance the move. Only this time, they she tells me that someone from IRS called her wanting to locate me because I didn't file my tax return last year. I panicked and moved back to NC to stay with family and deal with my tax situation. I come to find out that they were not "looking for me", but of course, I still need to sort out my tax situation. Meanwhile, my wife moved to FL, taking my daughter with her.
I realize that I set myself up for this. I knew that I could have taken legal action anywhere along the way to protect my rights as a Father. It's just that I have seen so many men go through a divorce and pay dearly... only to end up with 4 days a month with their kids. I had 50/50 with my daughter up until now.
I plan to move to Florida as soon as I get my taxes filed for 2011 and 2012. They say that they plan to file for divorce right away. He says she has a lawyer. I thought they had to be a resident for 6 months. We have been separated plenty long enough, but aren't there residency requirements? I'm fine with divorce. I'm just torn on what to do about my daughter. My wife has made it clear that if I bring our daughter into the courts, she'll take everything away from me. No more 50/50. Do I have a chance of getting 50/50 through the courts?