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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  General practice of law with emphasis in family law.
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I am divorced. I have physical and legal custody of my 17 year

Customer Question

I am divorced. I have physical and legal custody of my 17 year old daughter. I acquired full custody when my ex wife was sent to jail for a second dui offense. She was released from jail in October of 2009 and required at that time to pay $50/week in child support. She went on unemployment and I received my support until her unemployment stopped in July of this year. In September she filed a Complaint for modification of child support in Salem Family Court saying that she could not afford the payment. Our hearing date for that is tommorrow. On October 28th, she filed a Motion for joint physical and legal custody in Lawrence Family Court stating that she wanted my daughter to live with her. We had that hearing on November 16th, 2 days before my daughter's 17th birthday. We went before the probate department and it was pretty clear that my ex-wife's goal was to have my daughter live with her so that she could collect child support from me and live of that. The Probate officer told her that there was no basis to make a change and the judge would not agree to disrupt my daughter's life with only one year left before she reached 18. My ex-wife also lives in anther state (which she denies) which would nessitate my daughter changing schools as well. We agreed to joint legal custody with physical custody remaining the same with me. We signed a permenant order agreeing to this. The problem arose today when I received a notice from Salem Family Court stating that the permanent order has been changed to a temporary order because the only open complaint was the request for a change in child support not custody. They are saying we have to go back to court and have this reviewed in January. I do not understand this. My ex-wife filed a motion to change physical custody and probate hearing was held. How can Salem Court state she did not ask for a change in custody. Is this a mistake? Can I fight this? How do I fix it?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

Yes. It appears to be a Court error. I suggest you can get the Modification Complaint that your wife filed - you should have a copy that you were served with or get it from the Clerk of the Court.

Mail a copy to the Judge who signed the Permanent Order and explain that it should not be a Temporary Order and no other hearing is needed.

Now if she is appealing it, then it would be a temporary order until the Appeal is heard. So you need to see exactly what the court is saying that No Complaint was filed.

If you have further questions, you may post them here and i will continue to assist. Otherwise, even if you have a subscription with JA please remember to ACCEPT my answer as that is the only way I can get credit for my time and information in this matter. Thank you and Good luck

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just to be clear the paperwork asking for the modication in child support says it is a complaint. The paperwork for joint custody says it is a motion. Does this make a difference? I don't think she is appealing. The paperwork does not say that and I doubt that she would have time as the judge signed it the same day we were in court and she left the building before me. Thank you for your help.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 5 years ago.

A Motion for the Modification should not be for a Temporary Order.

This has to be a court error.