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Florida- Legal Seperation, Temporary Custody

Discussion in 'Divorce, Separation, Annulment' started by ejyonkman, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am posting more because of my boyfriend then anything for myself simply because I have no control or legal right to proceed with anything for him. Not to mention this all is his responsibility, however, he works a lot and does not have the time to search out this information. Therefore, here I am!

    The history... My boyfriend's wife moved from Florida to Oklahoma with their 3 children. At this time they were living seperately, having recently split, but were in contact because of the children. It is my understanding that he had been very unhappy in the relationship for many years. They have been married for 15 years, together for 18 years. They both have a history of cheating on eachother, she has had him put into jail for supposed abuse ( he is a very NONVIOLENT person so this seems a little odd), she is a very violent person herself both towards him and their children. He would spend a lot of time away from home so that he would not have to be around her and would go do things with the kids that she wouldn't want to do just so they could all relax and not have to be 'on eggshells' around her. She does suffer from bipolar disorder and depression and has been diagnosed with PTSD in the past. He is not perfect but tried hard to appease her and her family. He is in the National Guard and did spend over a year away from them while he was in Afganhistan. After they split up we met and have been dating/together since. Unfortunately, we met about 2 weeks after she left for OK so this does not look good.

    The situation... after moving to OK with their children his wife was staying with a woman that my boyfriend knew and he sent money to her every week to cover the rent and whatever else she could put it towards. Always sending at least $150.00 a week which was half of his pay. Usually sending between $50-75 more. She finally was able to get moved into a house but it was in a very bad area and had herself, their 3 kids, and soon after moving in 3 additional adults living in a 2 bedroom house. She had several men in and out of the household. The kids were sleeping on the floor, eating standing up, not allowed to sit on the furniture, and later the youngest son (age 6) was sharing a hide-a-bed with a man in his late 40's early 50's that was no relation. After getting her to agree that the kids could come to FL for the summer he went to get them and when he picked them up they had 2 or 3 changes of clothes, all smelling of animal urine (they also had 2 dogs and 2 cats in the house), stained and dirty, they were all infested with headlice, the house was in shambles. This is the way they lived on a regular basis when he was not with the family. They have since said they seldom got fresh fruit or homemade meals. These are just a few of the conditions they were forced to live in.

    The now... the kids are staying in FL with us and there is no legal separation, no custody order, no nothing. She willing allowed him to take the children with him. Since she is no longer receiving money from him and her food stamps and medical were closed due to the kids being gone for the summer she is throwing a FIT because the kids have all stated they do not want to return to her. They miss her but don't want to go back. Here the boys share a bedroom (ages 14 and 7) and his daughter has her own room. They bath regularly, have 3 meals a day plus a couple snacks, they have clean clothes and toys they can play with. They keep saying they are spoiled but they finally just have the kinds of things that most kids have. Nothing fancy and nothing out of the ordinary. We live in a tight budget but try to make sure they have fun and the things they need.

    I am under the impression that his first steps need to be to file for a legal separation and at least temporary custody so that they are here under legal guidelines. We want to enroll them in school, make sure they are up to date on shots and get them started with Boys & Girls Club or something similar to assist with their social skills. We also want to get them started in counseling to help deal with the changes they are going through with their parents and with the things she has taught them are normal ways to behave. We do live in one house and he and I do not plan on changing that. I have been caring for the kids since they moved here for the summer and will return to work once they start school but only enough to suppliment our income so that I can help at their schools and be home with them when they get out of school.

    Any suggestions on what we need to do, how to go about it, and where me might be able to find either free legal help or income based help? Any help or suggestions at all would be much appreciated. Our main concern is that these kids get to grow up in a safe, healthy home and get good educations rather then the lifestyle and indifference they are learning from their mother.
     
  2. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Can you shorten that and leave out the unrelated issues and stories
     
  3. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well... I can. I just wanted to give enough information rather then not enough information! LOL The condensed version is this...

    My boyfriend and his wife separated. She took the kids out of state. At this point she has proven that she cannot provide a stable, safe, healthy invironment for them in Oklahoma and we want to keep them here. We need to know what the proper steps are, can she have him charged with kidnapping (there is no legal separation, custody, ect... ) even though she let him take the kids for the summer, and what are his chances for getting the custody and at least legal separation granted to him under the circumstances? Also.. we would like to know if anyone knows if there are any pro bono for fathers legal assistance or based on income legal assistance for fathers in the Central Florida area preferably Lake County or Leesburg?

    Thank you!
     
  4. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    There is no "we" there is only he! First off is there a court order of vistation/support/custody? How long ago did she leave? These are important as which state has jurisdiction
     
  5. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Like I said there has been nothing done with the courts. No custody, no separation, no anything. She left Florida on apx. October 5, 2007 with the kids going to Oklahoma. He went to OK and brought them back on about June 1, 2008. Yeah.. I did say 'we' didn't I?! I do understand it is all his responsibility and totally between him and her but since I have the time to do the research I'm the one asking the questions! I do appreciate you help in this!

    PS.. I mentioned above that he sent her money while she was there with the kids. This was NOT ordered in any way it was just his choice to send the money and he did it willingly to help support his children.
     
  6. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Its possible that with them being in another state so long that all court actions will need to occur there. Tell him to consult an Attorney to see which court he needs to petition. Then he needs to seek a custody/visitation order and of course there will be a support order as well.
     
  7. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Do you think it would look favorably on him, in your opinion, if when requesting custody of the kids if he requests that she does not be required to pay child support? He knows that she can barely afford to take care of herself let alone try to pay child support. He doesn't care about her money he just wants to be legally away from her and have his children safe.
     
  8. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    It wont be granted just tell him to ask for $50 bucks per child or some other low amount.
     
  9. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok.. that makes sense. I just wish he knew if he would have a good chance since we obviously can provide a safe, stable, caring home for them.
     
  10. Duranie

    Duranie Moderator

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    Your BF needs to file for divorce and custody ASAP. If mom moved out of state with the kids your BF's chances of custody are good. It's important that he file so his state has jurisdiction. If mom files in her state, the kids may have to be returned to her and he'll have to hire an OK lawyer. Your BF should ask for some minimal support. She expects support from him and she should get a job and support her kids.
     
  11. ejyonkman

    ejyonkman Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Her supporting those kids is laughable. In all the years they have been together she has worked a couple weeks here and there seldom making more then one or two thousand a year. Which was another concern... if she would be eligible for alimony. She regularly got fired from her jobs rather then quit because she is unreliable and does not want to work.

    We are trying to find someone local that is either with an agency to work pro bono or on a sliding scale.. hopefully I'm not just wishful thinking!
     

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