My ex and I have joint physical/legal custody. About 9 years ago she went through a second divorce and asked me to take care of our son until she got back on her feet. She basically stopped paying support for 16 months. Then made partial payments on and off until last year when she stopped paying all together. She moved farther away, making the original joint physical logistically impossible during school. Then about 6 years ago, she moved to another state. She has not had a single overnight visit in the past 4 years. She never calls on her own, and rarely returns my son's calls. I would like to recover the back child support, have the calculation adjusted to reflect "reality" my full time care of our child, possibly have the "joint physical" overturned since it was possibly something she pushed just for monetary reasons. Do I have a case? My divorce stated we must attempt mediation first, I can't get her to take my calls much less agree to mediation. I suspect that she will insist on her having her joint overnights when she gets the summons, I've delayed doing anything about this because I love having all of this time with my kid and hate giving him to someone not interested in being a parent. A buddy told me I might have to go back to joint physical if she insists she wants to have another chance. Do I have a case? Should I attempt mediation first? Is there a risk that I would have to share physical with her again? Thanks.
Allow me to preface my answer to your question with the disclaimer that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. More than likely you will not have to share joint custody with her if the two of you went back to court. She has been very absent so the court may not enforce her rights. You certainly have the right to enforce the child support obligation. Also you must at least attempt to mediate, so sending her a letter requesting she pay the back child support and request to go to mediation to resolve this issue. This should get you over the mediation hurdle if she refuses to mediate with you.