It started as a typical daytime TV installment of “exasperated single parent and out-of-control teen” on a September 2016 episode of the “Dr. Phil” show. Then, with one heavily accented taunt, a South Florida teen launched countless internet memes and became a social media star. Now, the girl’s father, who has been estranged from the daughter for most of her life, is fighting for custody, according to the Palm Beach Post. The legal contest regarding the ‘viral’ sensation teen and the past history of the parents’ circumstances can be very instructive for any parent who’s dealing with child custody, timesharing, and child support issues.
When you and your spouse go through the custody and timesharing litigation process, there can be many steps along the path. Unfortunately, some cases will be contentious. In those cases, there may be many things over which you have to litigate, including which parts of your personal information your spouse is or is not entitled to obtain in the discovery process. In a recent Pensacola case, the issue was the mother’s medical and psychiatric records, which the father sought, covering a period of seven years.
The couple in this case filed for divorce in 2012, when their child was four. Three years later, the father initiated an involuntary commitment against the mother, alleging that she was abusing drugs, was exhibiting suicidal tendencies, and had driven while intoxicated with the child in the vehicle. Between the time of the divorce and the commitment proceeding, the couple had shared 50-50 timesharing
In a decision that may, hopefully, bring a degree of closure to one family, prosecutors in South Florida decided to drop criminal charges that were pending against a mother who had famously violated court orders related to the custody of her young son, the Palm Beach Post reported. The case made national news due to the issue at the center of the parents’ dispute (the child’s circumcision), but ultimately provides a reminder of the strong enforceability of parenting agreements, even if one parent has a profound change-of-heart later.
In any divorce case involving minor children, there are many issues that must be considered. One of these is the matter of making decisions regarding the children’s welfare. Ideally, the parents will work cooperatively after they’ve divorced to do what is necessary to advance the best interests of the children. In the real world, things can often be more complicated. Nevertheless, the law demands that divorcing parents strive to work together and share parental decision-making responsibilities in most cases. In a recent case decided by the Second District Court of Appeal, a trial judge’s order giving the mother “ultimate” authority was thrown out because the case didn’t meet the standard for awarding something other than true shared responsibility.
When you are dealing with a child custody or timesharing case that crosses state lines, the case can become complicated. You must deal with all of the requirements of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. That law says that custody and timesharing cases generally must be heard by a court in the child’s “home state.” However, if you live in Florida, and your child’s home state is somewhere else, there are certain situations in which you may still be able to bring your case here. In a recent Fifth District Court of Appeal case, the appeals court upheld a Florida trial court’s decision to modify timesharing, based upon the presence of “emergency” circumstances.
In any civil court case, including family law cases, paperwork is an important part of achieving a successful outcome. The difference between a successful resolution and an unsuccessful one can be your ability to provide the correct documentation to the court to meet all of the procedural rules and to establish that you are entitled to the relief you’re requesting. In a recent case from Broward County, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s decision finding a due process violation, which the court declared was a result of a lack of written proof that a father received proper notice that his former mother-in-law was requesting a change in custody of the man’s child.
A recent case originating in Tallahassee provides a useful lesson in how a parent must go about presenting a case for a timesharing modification based upon parental alienation. The First District Court of Appeal upheld a trial judge’s refusal to modify a timesharing agreement because the father’s case was insufficient to demonstrate the sort of extreme, substantial, and unanticipated action required by the law to re-open the issue of timesharing. The court explained that this type of request sets up a very high hurdle for the parent seeking modification, and although the father’s allegations were “troubling” and demonstrated a contentious relationship between the parents, they weren’t enough.
There are many things related to family law that you cannot avoid paying by declaring bankruptcy. These include child support, alimony, or anything else paid to your spouse, ex-spouse, or child that is “in the nature of” support. In one recent case, though, a federal bankruptcy court ruled that a father could discharge as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case his portion of the fee owed to a psychological professional for a court-ordered psychological evaluation of the father’s child as part of the parents’ custody litigation. Bankruptcy covered the debt because it was not owed to or recoverable by either the child or the man’s ex-wife.
As a parent, one of your primary goals in life is the nurturing and protection of your children. When discovering that domestic violence has taken place in the home of your ex-spouse — and in full view of your children — you will probably feel spurred to take action. The law does allow the courts to make emergency changes to custody, timesharing, and visitation arrangements when situations like this occur. However, as one case from the Second District Court of Appeal shows, it is important to understand exactly what the courts can and cannot do for you when this sort of thing happens.
Sometimes, winning or losing a family law case depends not on what the trial court order says but on what it doesn’t. A South Florida mother received a renewed opportunity to litigate the issue of timesharing after she succeeded in her recent appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeal threw out the trial court’s timesharing plan because the order did not state that the timesharing arrangement was in the best interests of the child, and such an express finding is required by the law.
The appeal arose from the divorce case of C.M. (wife) and F.L. (husband). The final judgment in the couple’s divorce case set up a parenting plan that established a 50-50 timesharing split between the two parents. This timesharing schedule was part of the basis of the wife’s appeal.