Kids taken by dad and kept away from mom

Hello. About 6 years ago I seperated from my husband who was a soldier in the Army and I a stay at home mom. Due to several damaging incidents I’d had enough and told my husband I was done. As many people do in the military however, we agreed to stay legally married for financial purposes but live seperately. he moved out and into another home while I stayed at our home until the lease was up and then moved into another apartment. The enitre time I had custody of our then 2 & 3 year old sons. Around this time he occasioanlly gave me money but never visited with our sons unless I begged him to do so or he met a new woman whom he wanted to impress with his “fathering”. Then to my surprise I was told by mutual friends that he had went to a strip club, met one of the dancers (named Angela) and within the month had moved her in! My 1st and only meeting with Angela was when I had dropped my boys off on one of his rare visits with him and when I came to pick them up heard her telling my son to “shut the hell up and go lay your *ss down”. I lost it and told her in no uncertain terms that if she ever again addressed my son like that it would be the last thing she ever did. I then told their father if he let it happen again the same would go for him. Long story short, I was ready to move home to Florida. I had lived apart from my husband for over a year and a half and met another man and found out I was pregnant. This being the case, I was ready for my divorce. I contacted my ex-husband who we’ll refer to as “Mike” and told him it was time. He agreed saying that it was time. Since NC is a pro se state we agreed it would be the best way to go. But then Mike said it would be easier to hire an attorney and I agreed. He hired the attorney and he and I got our divorce. Child custody was not an issue. We had agreed my boys were to stay with me. I moved to Florida in August of 2004. Mike called me about 2 weeks later and asked if I’d let the boys come see him because he had married Angela. Thrilled that he was offering instead of being asked I thought ,aybe he wanted to finally take a more active role in their lives & agreed. The agreement was for him to have them for 1 week. He also asked if we could go ahead and get some type of custody agreement in writing because he was going to be deployed and wanted to make sure something was in place so his parents (who I did’t get along with) could see the boys. Though it told him it was unneccesary I agreed. He said he could have the same lawyer do it for us. I said ok. Unfortunately , my daughter decided to make her appearance a month early during one of the 4 hurricanes that had hit South Florida that year (Aug 26, 2004). Mike contacted me and I asked if the boys could stay 2 more weeks until we were sure the storms were going to be over and he agreed. On Sep. 13, 2004 I was due to drive to meet him in GA at his parents home to pick my sons up. He called and asked if I was on my way and I told him yes. He then told me the lawyer had drawn up the paperwork and all I had to do was sign it when I got there. I told him ok and to read it to me. He told me it said that he would have full custody and I would get visitation. I thought he was joking until I realized he was serious. I told him no way in heck was that gonna happen. He thentold me that his lawyer told him that if I refused to sign not let me have my boys back so don’t even bother to come. I jumped in my car with my newborn while contacting the GA police as well as the Ft. Lauderdale police. When I got to GA I was told by the police dept there that because he was legally their father they couldn’t force him to hand my kids over to me. I tried to file for emergency custody in FL but was told I had to do it in NC. To my astonishment and horror, when i contacted NC I found out that not only had Mike already filed for custody, he had been going to court for MONTHS behind my back and giving them the wrong contact information for me so that I couldn’t be served. He’d be given temporary custody and child support already!! They told me the only way to fight it was to come to court up there or hire an attorney to representme, neither of which I could do and he knew that. I tried to write the judge a letter but to no avail. I was served by his attorney at the last minute for court dates and though I called and updated my contact info with the family court I was never givin notices of anything unless I called up there. I found out he was awarded permanent custody with visitation granted to me. Mike then disappeared with my kids, never lettingme know where they were but he and his family have made it a habit over these last few years to call me or email me and taunt me by saying things like “we told the boys you don’t want them, where’s your child support payment, Angela is their mother now not you” and doing things like sending me pictures of them with my kids but with my kids’ faces blacked out. I’ve found out that they now live in Jacksonville here in Florida. How? Because Mike tried to use my social security number so his address popped up on my credit report!! Then they had the child support enforced here in Florida as well.

What I would like to know is since he’s had the child support case enforced here and has lived here over a year now, does NC still have jurisdiction over this case? And if they do how do I get a change of venue to Florida? Would I have to come back up there because someone told me that once a case like this is issued a final judgement NC no loner has jurisdiction. Someone else told me that since he’s been here this long Florida automatically has jurisdciton. And since it’s been so many years what would the odds of a judge awarding me my full custody I technically had, especially since I can prove that Mike didn’t have the children when he claimed he did in court and therefore perjured himself in court or at least joint custody or even visitation? I’ve been denied my sons who are now 9 & 10 years old and haven’t seen me this whole time. I’m desperate to have my children back and now I finally have the means to fight back. Please help me!! I’ll do anything.

Thanks for taking the time out to read this long post!

Florida the proper state to deal with child custody and support issues now that no one resides in NC. I can’t speak to what your odds are in a custody case, however if can prove your ex has alienated your children in the manner you describe, that will certainly have an impact on the court’s opinion of your ex, and his ability to provide for the children’s best interests.