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Articles Posted in Custody/Time-Sharing

Co-parents often disagree over the terms of their shared custody of a child or what constitutes an appropriate amount of child support. As such, in many instances, they will rely on the courts to define their rights and obligations. A party’s situation may change over time, though, and what was once an appropriate order defining custody and child support may need to be modified. Parties that disagree with modifications have the right to appeal, but generally, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case, if a court’s ruling is supported by substantial evidence, it will be upheld. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is advisable to consult a skilled Miami child support lawyer promptly.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father had a child in 2016. Prior to the birth of the child, the parties acknowledged the father’s paternity and developed a parenting plan. The trial court subsequently entered a final judgment of paternity in which it incorporated and ratified the parenting plan the parties agreed upon. Two years after the child’s birth, the father filed a petition to modify child support and the parenting plan. The court granted the father’s petition, and the mother appealed.

Grounds for Upholding Orders Modifying Child Support and Custody

On appeal, the trial court’s ruling was upheld. The court noted that the trial court entered its order granting the father’s petition for modification following a seven-day trial during which it considered evidence from the parties and their experts. Further, the order, which was thirty-four pages, set forth explicit findings of fact that were supported by evidence that was substantial and competent, and thoroughly analyzed the statutory factors of Florida Statute 61.13, which guide the courts in determining what is in a child’s best interest. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for people who live and work in Florida to maintain citizenship in the United States and other countries. This can present challenges when it comes to co-parenting and custody disputes, however, as dual citizens often wish to move back to their native country while maintaining their rights to custody and visitation. As demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, while parents have the right to make such requests, they should not expect their co-parents to share the significant costs associated with sharing custody internationally. If you have questions about your parental rights and obligations with regard to custody, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Miami child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father met in 2016 and had a child together in 2017. The father lived and worked in the United States but was a dual citizen of Belgium and the United States. The parties lived together initially, but the mother and child moved out eventually. The father did not maintain a relationship with the child until 2019. He lost his job in 2020 due to the pandemic and moved back to Belgium.

Reportedly, the father only returned to the United States once in 2021 so that he could visit the child. At that time, he filed a petition to establish visitation and child support. The father sought to have the child visit him in Belgium twice a year, but the mother argued that neither she nor the father could afford the cost of the travel. She requested child support as well. The trial court held a hearing but did not make any findings. It then sought proposed final judgments from both parties and adopted the father’s judgment, which among other things, ordered the mother to pay half of the cost of transporting the child to Belgium and granted the mother $148 per month in child support. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

One of the fundamental elements of litigation is the right to question your opponents and their witnesses. The right is not absolute, though, as demonstrated in a recent child custody case in which the courts protected a child witness from being deposed. If you are concerned about protecting your parental rights, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Miami child custody attorney.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father began living together over a decade ago. The mother had a daughter from a previous relationship, and the mother and father later had a daughter together. In 2019, the mother’s older daughter advised a mental health coordinator at her school that the father had sexually abused her and that her parents were aware of the abuse. She was interviewed multiple times, and her testimony was the same each time.

Allegedly, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) filed an action to terminate the mother’s and father’s parental rights to both children. During the trial, the oldest daughter testified regarding the abuse but recanted her earlier statements that both parents were aware of the abuse. The father moved to disqualify the judge and for a new trial, and his motion was granted, and a new trial was ordered. Continue reading ›

When a couple with minor children divorces, the courts will usually issue a final judgment of dissolution of marriage that includes a parenting plan and timesharing schedule setting forth their custody rights. As situations can change after such judgments are issued, the parties can seek modifications of timesharing when the need arises. Merely because a party seeks a modification does not mean that it will be granted, however, or that the court will amend timesharing rights as requested. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the court adopted the mother’s proposed timesharing schedule following the father’s motion for a modification. If you have questions regarding how you can protect your timesharing rights, it is wise to talk to a Miami child custody attorney.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties divorced in 2018. The Final Judgment of Dissolution included a timesharing schedule and parenting plan. In 2020, the father filed a motion for a modification of the timesharing schedule due to a change in his work schedule. He submitted a proposed schedule along with his motion.

Allegedly, the wife submitted a proposed timesharing schedule in response to the husband’s motion, arguing that the husband’s proposed schedule did not comply with the terms of the parenting plan. The court granted the husband’s motion but adopted the wife’s proposed timesharing schedule. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

Many people living in and around Miami regularly travel out of the country. While international travel is not a cause for concern under ordinary circumstances, it can be when it involves a minor child whose parents share custody. In such instances, the courts may impose limitations regarding how and when either parent can leave the country with the child, and if a parent violates an order imposing such limitations, they may face sanctions. Recently, the dedicated Miami child custody attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., dealt with such an issue in a case where the mother failed to abide by requirements for traveling internationally with a child. We were able to obtain sanctions against the mother in the amount of $10,000. If you have questions regarding your rights as a parent, you should contact us as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father married and, in 2013, had a child. They divorced in 2015 and entered into a marital settlement agreement that the trial court adopted as part of the final judgment of dissolution. In the agreement, the parties established that if either parent wanted to travel internationally with the child, they would provide the other parent with a week’s notice in writing. Additionally, the agreement stated that if a parent failed to provide adequate notice, they would owe the other parent $10,000 and would be prohibited from traveling internationally with the child while they were a minor.

Allegedly, in 2019 the trial court entered an order stating that the mother could travel internationally with the child without the father’s consent. She took the child to Ireland later that year without notifying the father. He moved for contempt and asked the court to order the mother to pay him $10,000 and bar her from taking the child out of the country in the future. The court denied the motion, and the father appealed. Continue reading ›

Parents who share custody of a child do not always agree as to what is best for their child with regard to education. If they cannot resolve a dispute over a child’s schooling, they may ask the court to intervene. The Florida courts always aim to rule in the best interest of the child that is the subject of a custody disagreement, but sometimes their aim falls short. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion in which the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling ordering that a child should attend public school. If you need help with a custody issue, it is advisable to confer with a Miami child custody lawyer to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married for seven years before the wife filed a petition for dissolution. The couple had a daughter during their marriage that was diagnosed with autism. They resolved most of their issues via a marital settlement agreement and had a hearing to resolve the remaining matters, like child support, parental responsibility, and their daughter’s schooling.

Allegedly, the wife had homeschooled the daughter, who was now eight years old, since she was four and wanted to continue homeschooling, while the father wanted her to attend public school. The trial court determined that it was in the daughter’s best interest to attend public school and issued an order to that effect. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

In divorce matters involving children, the courts will generally issue orders establishing the parties’ timesharing and parental responsibility rights. In doing so, the courts’ sole concern is what is in the best interest of the divorcing couples’ children. As such, custody orders are not easily disturbed, and a parent typically must show a significant change in circumstances to obtain a modification. Recently, a Florida court issued an order discussing what constitutes a change that is substantial enough to warrant an alteration of custody rights, in a matter in which the father appealed the denial of his petition for modification. If you need assistance with a custody matter, it is smart to speak to a capable Miami child custody lawyer to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife had two children together, born in 2010 and 2012. They divorced in 2015, and the final judgment of dissolution granted them shared parental responsibility and equal timesharing. Shortly after the divorce, the wife began a relationship with another man. In 2018, the husband filed a petition for modification of the final judgment, seeking a change in timesharing and parental responsibility due to the wife’s harassment of the husband, domestic violence incidents between the wife and the boyfriend, and the wife’s interference with the husband’s custody rights.

Reportedly, the magistrate determined the husband demonstrated a significant change in circumstances, noting that the children were temporarily removed from the wife’s care in 2017 and that there was a significant history of domestic violence between the wife and the boyfriend. Thus, he recommended that the husband be named as the ultimate decision maker on issues pertaining to the children’s health and education and to amend the timesharing to grant the wife visitation every other weekend. The wife filed exceptions to the magistrate’s report and recommendations, which the circuit court granted. The husband then appealed. Continue reading ›

The spread of COVID-19 altered the landscape of family law hearings. Specifically, many hearings are held remotely, and the parties use platforms like Zoom to participate. While remote hearings provide a safe and convenient means for courts to resolve issues, technological problems can inadvertently impair people’s rights. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which a father was disconnected during a remote hearing, and his parental rights were terminated. If you have questions regarding your duties and privileges as a parent, it is in your best interest to speak to a Miami child custody attorney.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the trial court scheduled a hearing to address the issue of whether the father’s parental rights should be terminated.  At the time of the hearing, the father was incarcerated. Although he initially refused to appear, he ultimately did by telephone. Before the hearing began, the court placed the father and his attorney in a separate virtual room so that they could communicate confidentially.

Allegedly, the attorney directed the father to stay online and advised him that he would be brought back into the virtual courtroom. The father reportedly expressed that he wished to proceed via video rather than telephone. He was disconnected before the hearing began, however, and never rejoined via telephone or video. It is disputed whether his absence was voluntary or the result of technical issues. Notwithstanding, the trial court proceeded with the hearing over the objection of the father’s attorney. In light of the father’s absence, the Department of Children and Families moved for a default judgment. The court denied the motion and conducted the hearing but ultimately terminated the father’s parental rights regardless. The father appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in conducting the hearing after he was connected. Continue reading ›

The Florida courts generally aim to preserve the relationship between parents and their children. A court’s primary interest in any action involving a child, however, is what is in the child’s best interest. As such, if a court determines that terminating a parent’s rights will benefit a child, that decision will typically be upheld on appeal. Recently, a Florida appellate court discussed the standard of review appellate courts employ when assessing whether a trial court properly terminated a parent’s rights in a case in which it ultimately upheld the trial court’s decision. If you have questions regarding custody of your child, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled Miami child custody lawyer regarding your options.

Procedural History of the Case

The grounds for the action to terminate the mother’s parental rights were not provided. It is reported, however, that proceedings were instituted to terminate the mother’s parental rights with regard to her three minor children. Multiple evidentiary hearings were held, during which the mother produced medical records and witness testimony in support of her assertion that her rights should be preserved. The trial court did not find the mother’s arguments to be persuasive and issued a final judgment terminating her parental rights. The mother appealed.

Appellate Review of Decisions Terminating Parental Rights

On appeal, the court focused on the standard of review employed when evaluating whether a trial court properly terminated a party’s parental rights. Specifically, the appellate court noted that its function was not to re-evaluate evidence presented at trial and substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. Continue reading ›

When a couple that has children decides to end their marriage, they will generally task the court with determining their paternal responsibility, such as how custody should be split. Prior to making custody decisions, courts consider a number of criteria, including whether one partner has committed acts of domestic abuse. Regardless of whether another court believes that custody should be adjusted because of domestic violence, if a family court issues an order granting timesharing rights, that ruling will govern parental rights. This was proven in a recent Florida decision in which the court overturned a domestic violence order that affected the father’s parenting rights to some extent. If you have any issues about your custody rights, you should speak with a skilled Florida family law lawyer promptly.

The Factual and Procedural History 

Allegedly, in 2016, the wife filed a petition for divorce. She also filed a petition seeking a domestic violence order against her spouse shortly after filing the divorce petition. She detailed multiple incidents in which her husband threatened her with violence, verbally harassed her, and pushed her in the years leading up to the filing of the domestic violence petition.

The court allegedly issued a default order against the spouse but did not include a provision regulating the parties’ minor children’s timesharing. Because the spouse had not received appropriate notice of the final hearing on the injunction, the court annulled the order and scheduled a new hearing in 2020. Following the hearing, the court issued another order, this time granting the wife full timesharing rights. The spouse filed an appeal, claiming that the injunction was in violation of the custody order issued by the family court. Continue reading ›

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