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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33781
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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My father who was in the ARMY, divorced my mother without she

Customer Question

My father who was in the ARMY, divorced my mother without she even knowing he was divorcing her. He lived here in the US and my mom in Central America. They got married in Panama ( former US canal zone )in 1966. She never received paperwork to sign nor nothing she was never informed he was divorcing her even though he knew where she was living with their children. Is that divorce even valid ?. Is she technically still married to him?. He never payed child support nor took care of us. He aquired some assets through the years and now he passed. He inherit ia a Will all his assets to a person not related to him in anyway. Can my mother or my aiblings or myself challenge that will?...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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""Is that divorce even valid ?. Is she technically still married to him?
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This would depend on whether he got "service by publication" which is where a petitioner represents to the court that they have tried to have the other party served with a legal action and have been unable to do so. In the case where one party is out of the US, the court will generally approve service by publication where the petitioner puts a notice in the legal section of the local paper about the action for a set number of weeks. After that, the court will allow the legal action to proceed, even if the other party never actually got notice.
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""He inherit ia a Will all his assets to a person not related to him in anyway. Can my mother or my aiblings or myself challenge that will?...
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Assuming that he got a valid divorce by getting the court to approve service by publication, then if he had a will prepared, he can legally leave his assets to anyone he wants to. A child doesn't have any legal right to inherit from a parent unless they are either named in a will or the person dies without a will in place (i.e. intestate).
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If mother had a child support order entered against him, then it might be possible to file a claim against his estate for any delinquent child support payments. But if there was never a formal child support order entered by the court, then it would be too late to assert a claim now.
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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believe she had a child support order while he was still in the Army but he got kicked out and then he started moving from state to state in order to not pay child support. I Believe it was through the Armed Forces back then like around 1972 or so The Army was making sure he paid to his children but that just lasted a couple of years because after he got kicked out he totally vanished until 25 years later. Is there any hopes for my mother?.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell me in what state the order was originally entered as this will determine the applicable statute of limitations for enforcing the support order?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My mom was living in Panama canal zone US territory back then and he was in the Army but they were separated.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Ok, she would have to have gotten a judgment for child support in the state where the divorce decree was ordered in order for it to be enforced in the US after he left the service because the court would have to have personal jurisdiction over the other parent.
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The military has its own set of rules regarding a service member supporting their children, but those rules don't apply once the service member leaves the service.
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I am sorry, but I don't see a recourse for her against his estate if she never obtained a civil child support order once he left the service.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
will contact my mother to find out. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Glad to help even if the news wasn't very encouraging..
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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.
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thanks
Barrister

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