How can I get joint custody of my son who resides in another state with his dad? 6 Answers as of December 15, 2014

I'm the non custodial parent. My son lives with his dad in Oklahoma and I live in Texas. I'm supposed to have visitation every other weekend but for the past almost 3 years my ex-husband doesn't allow me to see him, talk to him, or give me an address to send gifts. Our divorce was handled in Alabama and afterwards he moved to Oklahoma. So for the past 2 years, I've been trying to find out what state do I have to contact to fix this and make it to where I can see my son. The divorce was mutual at the time. I let him have primary custody to move back to Texas to get a job and make sure I can financially support my son. For the past almost 3 years, my ex husband's new wife is playing a big part in not allowing me to see my son. I don't know what to do, as I am by myself in Texas with a job but not enough to afford a lawyer.

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Fran Brochstein
Fran Brochstein | Fran Brochstein
If the child lives in OK then transfer the case there.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/15/2014
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
There are many questions here but crux of the matter - where to file is fairly easy. You can either file a new suit in Oklahoma and ask to have the Alabama case transferred into it. This is faster, but will cost you a new filing fee. The slower route but better route is to file in Alabama in the same court and under the same cause number as the divorce. Then immediately ask for citation and after citation is issued ask that case be transferred to Oklahoma. This seems confusing but it serves two purposes - (1) the service is completed while the case is being copied/scanned and packed and he is served so he has notice before the transfer which means the negotiations, time to make matters better (give you visitation) or worse (keep acting a fool) is running while the case is moving; and (2) it consolidates the case into the court where the children live. Filing a pro se motion is dangerous. You have the right, but what you describe has procedural issues that some lawyers have trouble navigating, particularly the proper language and notices required for contempt and enforcement - the transfer is easy enough, it is the second part that worries me if you try to do this yourself. I know it is tough, but you really need to talk to a lawyer that practices in the county where the children live about helping you out. You need a lawyer who will help you draft the motion to transfer and Motion to Enforce that you would file in AL, but then be ready to play catch and run the second it arrives in the new Court. No need to pay a lawyer in AL just to file papers, but a Lawyer in TX or OK cannot file papers in AL unless he/she wants to Pro Hoc into AL courts or is already licensed there. Plus, you would just be paying the lawyer to file something - the transfer is pretty much a procedural matter, file the right request, get the right order to the Judge, pay the fee (if any) and copy cost (if charged) and then when it arrives in the new State, pay the fee (if any) and write down the new cause number and court. The trick is to file in AL the requested relief that you would want to be heard in OK later. This saves the step of re-pleading.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/11/2014
Kevin H Pate
Kevin H Pate | Kevin H Pate
If the child resides in OK over six months, have your proceedings transferred to OK as the home state. (it will most likely happen anyway if you try to pursue things in AL.) If you can not engage counsel, try again once your case is in OK. Not every attorney requires a significant retainer up front. Your counsel, or you, if you do not obtain counsel, can rely on the simplified motion to enforce visitation (if having visitation take place as previously ordered is what you are seeking.) If you are thinking a change in custody altogether, as you have been denied visits for years, starting with establishing visits anew is not a bad start.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 12/11/2014
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Review the language in your decree of divorce. You can file for contempt as long as you satisfy the Court that you have complied, but your ex has not complied and deliberately kept you from your child. You could file in Alabama as long as the Court put language in the decree "retaining jurisdiction" for matters dealing with the child, which is standard language. Also, you could file in OK since the child has lived there for six months or more. In my opinion, TX doesn't have jurisdiction. Stay well and God bless.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 12/10/2014
Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
First, the law now is you can file in the state and county where the child resides. So, find an attorney in the Oklahoma county where the child is and file a motion to modify, a contempt action, etc. This may be costly and time-consuming, but worth it to your son. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 12/10/2014
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk | Andrew Oostdyk
    You will need to file a Contempt and Enforcement action asking the Court to order the Father to abide by the Final Order on record. This will need to start in Alabama since this is where the Court where the Final Order was rendered. You can ask to change the venue to Oklahoma in the county where the child lives, the Father can ask the venue to be transferred as well.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/10/2014
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