Not long ago, I wrote a brief that convinced a judge he had no jurisdiction over a petition filed by the opposing party in a child visitation matter. The petition was filed two months after my client and the other parent informed the judge that they had reached an agreement to give my client custody of their child. The petition claimed that my client was not abiding by the visitation provisions in the agreement, allegations which my client denies. Opposing counsel did not pay a filing fee or have my client served with the petition.
The appellate courts have held that when a parent wants to enforce an agreement based on conduct of the other parent occurring after the agreement, that parent must file a new petition, pay a filing fee, and serve the other parent with the summons and complaint. Otherwise, the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case. A judge who does not have jurisdiction can set aside his or her orders at any time, no matter how long has passed.
The results in this case are not an indication of the outcome in your case. Each case is unique and will be decided based on the applicable facts and law.
If you are involved in a dispute over child custody or visitation, call us for a consultation.