I live in florida I have had my kids for the last 2 years since there mom left. Can I be awarded custody automatically since they lived with me all this time? She currently gets social security for one of my sons, food stamps, and has even let a friend claim them on her tax return. What are my options?
3 Answers from Attorneys
If you are not married to the mother and if the court has previously ordered Custody and Visitation then this matter requires you to file a Modification. If custody has never been decided, then you need to file a Petition to Establish a Parenting Plan. If you are married to the Mother this can also be done in the divorce or as an action outside of divorcing your spouse.
A range of issues will need to be examined. The fact that the children have resided with you for two years is a strong factor in your favor but other factors will have to be reviewed. You may need to consult with an attorney for guidance.
Nothing is automatic, although for sure you will get custody. You still need to file a case with the court to enforce your rights.
If you need legal representation in No. Fla., I have practiced in the various counties for twenty years. Tom R.