Articles Posted in Custody/Time-Sharing

Generally, people file family law actions in the court situated in the county in which they reside. If they subsequently move, though, there may be a question as to whether the court can continue to exercise jurisdiction over their case. Recently, a Florida court explained when courts within the state have the right to preside over custody cases in a matter in which it rejected the mother’s argument that the court no longer had jurisdiction over her case. If you need assistance with a custody matter, it is smart to talk to a Miami child custody attorney to determine what measures you can take to protect your interests.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and the father married and had two children, both of whom were born in Florida. In 2015, they divorced. The trial court entered a final dissolution of the marriage which, among other things, ratified the parenting plan established by the parties and stated that the trial court had jurisdiction over the matter. A dependency case was opened in 2019, and the dependency court placed the children with the mother in Texas temporarily.

It is alleged that in 2020, the father filed a petition to modify parental responsibility and the parenting plan in Florida. The dependency court awarded the father visitation rights and relinquished jurisdiction over the matter. The mother then moved to dismiss the father’s petition for lack of jurisdiction. The trial court denied the mother’s motion, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

While the Florida courts typically strive to maintain relationships between parents and their children, in some instances, they determine that it is in a child’s best interest to grant permanent guardianship rights to someone other than the child’s parent. While it is within the courts’ discretion to do so, they must set forth written orders adequately explaining their reasoning. If they do not, their orders might be subject to challenge, as illustrated in a recent Florida case. If you have questions about what measures you can take to protect your parental rights, it is prudent to speak to a Miami child custody attorney regarding your options.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the child was under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families. The trial court subsequently terminated the Department’s supervision and placed the child in a permanent guardianship. The child’s father appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that it was not supported by competent evidence and that the order failed to set forth specific factual findings.

Statutory Requirements for Orders Granting Permanent Guardianship

On appeal, the court agreed with the father in part but affirmed the order to the extent that it placed the child in permanent guardianship, as it found the decision was supported by competent evidence. The court explained that the Florida Statutes require that a written order placing a child in permanent guardianship must set forth the reasons or circumstances why a child’s parents are deemed unfit to care for the child and why reunification between the child and parents is not possible. In doing so, the trial court must either make separate findings of fact or refer to specific factual findings in its order adjudicating the child dependent. Continue reading ›

It goes without saying that people do not have to be romantically involved in order to conceive a child, and in some instances, friends will choose to embark on the journey of parenthood together. When people who are not married or a couple use unorthodox means to conceive a child, it may confound the courts with regard to defining parental rights, however. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court overruled a trial court order denying a father’s request for timesharing due to the fact that the child in question was conceived via artificial insemination. If you want to establish your right to custody or timesharing, it is in your best interest to talk to a Miami child custody attorney about your options.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father, who were friends, decided to conceive a child via an at-home artificial insemination process. A few years after the child was born, the father filed a petition to establish paternity and to have timesharing rights. In the mother’s answer to the petition, she acknowledged the father’s paternity and agreed that the court should establish a parenting plan and a timesharing schedule.

Allegedly, the trial court entered a temporary order granting the father timesharing rights. Eighteen months after the filing of the petition, the trial court held a hearing, after which the court issued a final judgment in which it noted that the father had been a constant presence in the child’s life and that both parties put the child’s interests ahead of their own and were flexible with regard to time sharing. Regardless, the trial court denied the father’s petition on the grounds that Florida’s law regarding assisted reproductive technology barred it from granting the father’s request. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida child custody matters, the court’s paramount concern is always what is in the best interest of the child that is the focus of the case. Thus, any time a party proposes a modification of a parenting plan, the courts must assess whether the change sought will benefit the child; if the court finds that it will not or that it may harm the child, it will generally deny the request. Recently, a Florida court discussed the process of analyzing whether a modification is in a child’s best interest in a child custody case. If you share custody of a child and you or your co-parent intend to seek a modification, it is prudent to confer with a Miami child custody attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, almost a decade after coming to an agreement regarding shared parental rights of two minor children, the mother and the father each filed motions seeking modification of the parenting plan. The father argued that the children, who were both teenagers at the time, suffered from parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and offered a social investigation report and numerous articles in support of his position.

Reportedly, to mitigate the PAS, the father asked the court to enroll the children in therapy, and to the extent that proved ineffective, sought a modification of his child support obligation and increased timesharing rights. In response, the mother sought an increase in child support and a decrease in the father’s timesharing rights, or in the alternative, enrollment in a family-based reunification program. The trial court ordered the children to participate in a reunification program and granted the father exclusive custody of the children, concluding without elaborating that participation in the program was in the children’s best interest. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for people to want to move from Florida to another state for personal or professional reasons. While people are generally free to do so, if they share custody of a child, their co-parents may object to the child’s relocation. Further, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, people with time-sharing and access rights can voice concerns about a child’s relocation, even if their parentage has not been established. If you have questions about child relocation, it is smart to talk to a Miami child custody attorney promptly.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and putative father, who were both married to other people, agreed to have a child together. After the child was born, the mother and her wife were listed as the child’s parents on the birth certificate, but the mother gave the child the putative father’s last name. The mother and the wife ultimately separated, and the mother moved in with the putative father and his husband.

Allegedly, the mother then left the child in the custody of the putative father for four months so that she could pursue an employment opportunity in another country. While abroad, the mother became engaged to a member of the military. She later returned to Miami to live with the putative father, but when he found out she was pregnant, he asked her to move out. The mother filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in which she alleged that the putative father was the child’s biological father and asked the court to amend the birth certificate. In response, the putative father filed a petition to determine paternity and to enjoin the mother from relocating with the child. The mother filed a petition to relocate with the child, which the court denied. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

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 ›