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I'm trying to find out if lack of visitation and lack of…

Hello. I'm trying to...

Hello. I'm trying to find out if lack of visitation and lack of payment of child support (CS) can be grounds for abandonment against my ex-husband. We had a child together and now that child is 5 years old. We have shared "custody" but I have been the primary provider for her for over 3 years. Since our divorce in 2014, I've only received 1-3 payments of CS. He now lives in Arkansas, I'm in Florida (where our divorce was filed). Can I seek abandonment against him? Can I also ask for payment of CS (and back CS)? Ultimately I want sole custody and him to pay CS. Thank you!

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

I live in Florida with the child and he lives in Arkansas (as far as I know).

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

No, I'm trying to find some.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, he has a history of alcohol abuse, arrests for DUI in Arkansas, and got another woman pregnant while we were still married and "abandoned" that child too. That child is now in Foster Care.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
8/18/2017
LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11,868
Experience: Experienced Family Law Attorney
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Which state currently has jurisdiction?
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Florida

I am sorry your family is having to deal with this;

here is the statute that governs abandonment:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0039/Sections/0039.01.html

The statute does not specify a time frame, but merely states: "establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child."

So that leaves it up to the discretion of the individual judge who may then terminate that parent's paternal rights under code 39.806.

It is possible to seek past child support provided there is a court order that obligates the party to pay; if there is not it is important to get a court order as soon as possible as the judge will normally only order such orders retroactive to the date the parent requested support.

This agency assists with both establishment of support and enforcement:

http://floridarevenue.com/childsupport/Pages/default.aspx

If parental rights are terminated that does terminate obligations re: future support.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Per our divorce decree, he must pay child support but hasn't. It's been 3 years since our divorce. I know that he still pays child support even if he terminates his parental rights. I know this because he did this with his older daughter. He voluntarily terminated his parental rights during the divorce AND he still paid child support. That divorce was effective in Florida too.

If the rights are terminated by the court, then that ends the child support obligation as to future child support though back child support is still due and owing. Of course a parent is free to continue paying if they wish.

If the divorce decree states that child support is to be paid, that is a court order and can be enforced. Normally the 2 state division of child support services will work together to garnish wages, put a lien on property, etc. They may also suspend driver's license and other professional licenses.

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