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LegalPro, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 589
Experience:  33 years experience in domestic relations and family law practice.
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I have 2 older children (17 & 15) in Florida who primarily

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I have 2 older children (17 & 15) in Florida who primarily live with their mom. They no longer want to live with her as a result of a violent episode which resulted in her being Baker Acted. No one was hurt in this episode. What are the first steps I need to take to alter the terms of the divorce decree to grant custody to me.
You will need to file a motion to amend the divorce decree in order to change child custody. The motion may be accompanied by an affidavit outlining the factual basis for the desired custody change. This motion may be filed in the court that entered the original divorce decree. If that court is not the same as the Floridian court where the children reside, the decree may be filed there in Florida and very likely still subjected to amendment by the Florida court.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Based on the current circumstances, would I be in violation of the current decree if I did not return them home at the end of this weekend (as is normal)?

Yes, you could be technically in violation of the current decree by not returning the children as ordered, but what is the likelihood that their mother will make an issue under the circumstances? You may be able to get a quick, emergency order granting you temporary custody pending the hearing of your motion to permanently amend the decree. If you are retaining physical custody of the children, try to get your custody change motion filed as quickly as possible in order to minimize the effect of your technical violation of the decree terms.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One last question on this topic. Is is the children's wishes to come live with me. Should I be seeking Guardian Ad Litem to represent them in court rather than trying to make the case myself? The mom will go on on the defense (child support $) and will attack me. Would it be better to have a 3rd party represent the children's desires in court?

Whether a GAL is appointed to represent the children would depend on Florida procedural rules or policies regarding this type of case. Normally a GAL is not chosen by the private parties in such case. It may be possible for a separate private practicing attorney to represent the children in this type of case, but I doubt if this is commonly done. A regularly practicing Florida family law attorney should be able to clear this issue quickly.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your advice.

You are certainly welcome. I wish you the best in this matter.

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