I leave in Miami, Fl. Separated for 10 yrs. Not divorcedNow my wife will not give me a divorce. What can I do?

I have been separated form my wife for 10 yrs. Paid for food, shelter and clothes for my 2 children. Unfortunately I paid by cash only. children are 18 yrs and older now. My wife is threatening to take me to court if I demand legal divorce.

Asked on June 30, 2009 under Family Law, Florida


Joanna M. Mitchell / Mitchell & Associates, PA

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Typically, child support in Florida can be retroacted back to the date of separation, but not more than two years. We would need to find a way to prove that you did assist in supporting your children, even if it were via cash, but she wouldn't be able to retroact further than 2 yrs regardless. Most likely your children are aware of the monies that you provided, the clothes and food and shelter that you helped pay for, in which case, if necessary, now that they are 18 and older they could testify on your behalf should she choose to misrepresent your support.

Regardless, you shouldn't let her threats continue to control you and you should be able to move on with your life. My office is located outside the Orlando area, and so I would be unable to assist you in Miami (unless she is located near Orlando), but I would strongly agree that you should retain an attorney to assist you in the process.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Ok, I think that it is time to get a lawyer.  Your children are emancipated under Florida Law. The age of majority in Florida is 18. (Florida Statutes § 743.07) Support is automatically terminated at age 18 unless child(ren) is/are declared legally dependent beyond that age due to mental or physical disability; the child is 18 and still in high school and will graduate prior to age 19; or support has otherwise been ordered to continue.

Now you need to be concerned about the back support that you paid in cash.  I am not admitted in Florida but I am sure that you can try and prove payment in other ways besides receipts or checks.  An attorney will know the case law and what you will need.  Don't let her threats stop you from taking the lead.  You did the right thing for your children and now it is time to move on.  Good luck.

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