She ran off years ago and left the child with me. Though she is out of our child's life she refuses to officially give me full custody because she knows she will have to pay child support. She holds it over my head that she can come and take him away whenever she wants because she is legally the custodian.
How do I go about getting legal custody of my child, especially if both parties have moved out of state since the divorce?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Oklahoma laws where I am licensed to practice.
The very first step to bringing a action to receive child custody is to domesticate the original divorce decree. The first requirement to domesticate the decree will be to meet the residency requirement to bring an action in your state.
States vary on the amount of time one is required to live in the state and county in order to meet the residency requirement. For example, where I practice, a person must live in the state of Oklahoma for six months and the county in which they would like to bring an action for 30 days prior to filing.
Divorce Laws:State Residency Requirements
Once the residency requirement is met, then you will have to file a triple authenticated copy of the decree in order to domesticate the decree.
After the divorce decree is domesticated in your state, you can file a Motion to Modify and seek child custody, set a visitation schedule, and establish child support.
In general, the test to determine who receives custody and how visitation is set is determined by what is in the "best interest on the minor child."
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.