The protracted court case involving the medical care of a 4-year-old Palm Beach County boy took another turn recently, when the child’s mother refused to appear in court as ordered, leading Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen to issue a warrant for her arrest, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The case centers around the decision to perform a circumcision on the boy, which the father supports and the mother opposes. Counsel for the mother has argued that she is acting to protect her child, but the Florida courts have consistently upheld the father’s right to make the decision regarding the circumcision, as the mother voluntary relinquished this decision-making right as part of parenting plan agreement signed by the mother in 2011.
D. N. and H. H. welcomed a baby boy on Oct. 31, 2010. The parents later signed an agreed parenting order that stated that the father would handle all matters related to completing the child’s circumcision, including scheduling the appointment, transporting the child and paying for the procedure. The mother agreed to sign all necessary forms to permit the procedure to take place.
Once the boy turned three, he developed some issues with urination and doctors diagnosed him with phimosis, with circumcision as the recommended treatment. The mother objected, claiming that friends had educated her about the procedure, and she feared for her son’s well-being.
The Florida courts, however, universally sided with the father. The mother voluntarily signed the parenting agreement, and the agreement’s language clearly allowed the father to get his son circumcised. When the mother took custody on Feb. 23, 2015 at her regular time, she took the child and went into hiding at a domestic violence shelter.
The court declared the mother in contempt on March 6 for violating the order that enforced the parenting agreement. The judge allowed the mother to avoid jail if she showed up at a hearing the following Tuesday. She did not attend the hearing. The judge issued the arrest warrant at that time.
The mother’s attorney told Judge Gillen that the boy is “terrified” of the operation and angry that it is being forced upon him. The father testified in court that his son was frightened that the doctors would cut his penis off. The trial court had previously ordered the mother not to tell the child she opposed the circumcision.
A day after issuing the arrest warrant, the court rescinded an order preventing the use of the child’s name, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. Several media entities had contested the gag order. The judge, in relenting, said that the boy’s name was already “out there as a direct result of his mom’s actions.”
Family law cases, especially those involving children, can be particularly challenging. The parties may be motivated by a genuine belief regarding the best interest of their child or they may be driven by a desire to win a battle against their “ex.” Either way, dealing with such a case often requires having skilled, thoughtful and determined representation on your side. For your Florida family law issues, consult the South Florida family law attorneys of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Our lawyers can offer you reliable and understandable advice, and an experienced advocate for you and your family.
Contact us online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
Father’s Failure to Return Daughter to Florida on Time Allows for Alteration of Parenting Plan, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Feb. 18, 2015
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Headline-Grabbing Case Regarding Toddler’s Circumcision, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Jan. 19, 2015