Articles Posted in Custody/Time-Sharing

Religion is an important part of many people’s lives. As such, it makes sense that they would want to impart their religious beliefs to their children. In Florida, people typically have the right to raise their children in the religion of their choosing unless the courts determine that doing so would not be in the child’s best interest. As shown in an opinion recently delivered by a Florida court in a custody case, judges must make unbiased decisions about parental rights with regard to religion. Otherwise, their rulings may be overturned. If you have concerns about protecting your right to parent your child, it is in your best interest to meet with a Miami child custody attorney.

History of the Case

It is reported that the father, who, as a Christian minister and youth pastor, opposed gender transition for his minor child based on moral and religious grounds. The child had been removed from the mother’s custody due to her substance abuse issues but was later reunited with her. However, after the child ran away from the mother due to abuse and excessive drinking, the child moved in with the father, who refused any gender transition treatment for the child.

It is alleged that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) sought to remove the child from both parents’ custody, alleging emotional abuse by the father for opposing gender transition. Despite no findings of abuse against the father, the trial judge removed the child from his custody, prompting the father to file a motion to return the child to his custody. However, the trial judge’s conduct during an in-camera interview with the child, including using female pseudonyms and suggesting counseling to change the father’s beliefs, raised concerns about bias against the father’s religious views. The father then filed a petition to disqualify the trial judge, arguing that the judge demonstrated bias that bias prevented him from receiving a fair hearing. Continue reading ›

When people with children decide to end their marriage, one of their foremost concerns is usually how the divorce will impact their children and their parental rights. As such, they will often take great care when creating a parenting plan. The courts will generally incorporate parenting plans into divorce decrees as long as they are in the best interest of the children involved. While the courts can strike parenting plans, they cannot do so without following the proper procedure, as shown in a recent Florida opinion issued in a divorce action. If you have questions about your rights with regard to divorce, it is wise to talk to a Miami divorce attorney.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is reported that the wife initiated an action seeking a dissolution of her marriage to the husband. The trial court issued a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, incorporating the parties’ Parenting Plan concerning their child’s time-sharing rights and obligations. Subsequently, the husband filed a supplemental petition, later amending it, alleging deficiencies in the Parenting Plan, particularly its lack of provisions for communication between him and the child.

It is alleged that the wife moved to dismiss the husband’s petition and then amended her motion. During a hearing on the wife’s amended motion to dismiss, the trial court not only denied the motion but also, without prior notice, struck the Parenting Plan entirely, citing its failure to meet statutory requirements regarding communication means between the husband and the child. The wife filed a petition seeking a writ of prohibition or certiorari to challenge the trial court’s order. Continue reading ›

In Florida, the best interest of the child standard dictates how custody cases are handled. In other words, regardless of whether the courts issue a parenting plan or the parties independently come to an agreement that the court then affirms, the plan must promote the child’s health and well-being. As such, to demonstrate a parenting plan should be modified a party will typically have to show a substantial change in circumstances. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, as explained in a recent Florida ruling issued in a custody action. If you want to learn more about what steps you can take to protect your parental rights, it is wise to confer with an assertive Miami custody attorney.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother and father entered into a parenting plan outlining a series of timesharing schedules that would progressively increase the father’s time with the minor child over three years. The plan included a provision stating that by March 1, 2019, the parties would revisit the timesharing schedule, with the option to modify it without filing a supplemental petition for modification if they could not agree, in which case the matter would be submitted to the court.

Allegedly, the father subsequently petitioned for the modification. The mother moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that there was no change in circumstances that warranted a modification. The court agreed and ruled in favor of the mother. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

In family law matters involving minor children, the Florida courts’ driving concern is what is in the children’s best interest. As such, in cases in which the parents’ ability to care for their children in a safe and healthy environment is called into question, a court may find it necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem. Which party is responsible for paying for such guardians depends on numerous factors, as discussed in a recent Florida opinion. If you have questions regarding how you can protect your parental rights, it is smart to meet with a Miami child custody attorney at your earliest convenience.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the mother and father, who have two minor children, divorced in Virginia in 2011. In 2020, the mother filed petitions for injunction for protection against domestic violence with children on behalf of the minor children. The trial court appointed a guardian ad litem for the children in the domestic violence cases and ordered the father to pay 100% of the Guardian’s fees. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the mother’s petitions but appointed the Guardian for further intervention.

It is not uncommon for parents who share custody of a child to disagree over where the child should live or whether one parent should be able to move to another state with the child. In such instances, the parties will typically seek input from the courts to determine their parental rights. If a party relocates with a child without the court’s permission, they will likely face adverse consequences, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case. If you need help with a custody dispute, it is smart to consult a Miami child custody attorney to discuss your rights.

Case Background

It is alleged that the mother and the father were in a long-term relationship but never married. They resided together in Hawaii, where their daughter was born. However, in 2017, the mother relocated with their daughter to Key West without objection from the father. After settling in Key West, the parties agreed to a rotating custody arrangement for their daughter. In 2021, the father also moved to Key West and filed a petition to establish paternity, seeking timesharing and child support. The mother responded with a counterpetition, seeking similar remedies.

Reportedly, the court ratified a temporary order granting timesharing rights on an alternating weekly basis. Within two months, however, the father filed a petition to relocate with their daughter back to Hawaii. The mother objected, and the court scheduled the remaining issues in the case for trial, including the relocation petition. The father then relocated back to Hawaii before the court rendered a ruling on the relocation petition. The trial court then denied the petition for relocation while simultaneously adopting the father’s proposed parenting plan, granting him extended timesharing with their daughter during school recesses in Hawaii and additional timesharing in Key West. These conflicting decisions prompted the subsequent appeal. Continue reading ›

Florida custody disputes can become contentious, and it is not uncommon for one parent to accuse the other of trying to alienate them from their child. In some instances, a parent may go so far as to accuse a co-parent of tortious interference with custodial rights. While Florida law allows for such actions, they can be challenging to prove, as demonstrated in a recent Florida custody case. If you are dealing with a custody disagreement, it is advisable to meet with a Miami child custody attorney promptly to determine your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the father brought tort claims against the mother and the stepfather. Specifically, he alleged intentional interference with custodial rights as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress claims (IIED) against both the mother and the stepfather regarding their then-teenage daughter. The focus of the allegations against the stepfather involved his purported conspiracy with the mother in preventing the daughter’s return to Canada, where the father resided, against the daughter’s wishes to remain in Florida.

It is alleged that the stepfather’s involvement encompassed actions such as allowing the daughter to reside in his home, facilitating her enrollment in a Florida high school, and supporting her pursuit of emancipation from the father. The mother and stepfather moved for dismissal of the father’s claims via summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, prompting the father to appeal. Continue reading ›

When faced with custody disputes, the Florida courts will typically take great care in drafting a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children involved. As such, a party that wishes to modify a parenting plan must show that a change has occurred since the plan was issued that is both lasting and substantial, must set forth their requested relief, and must show that the change warrants the relief sought. As discussed in a recent Florida ruling, if a court grants relief that is not requested, the court’s ruling may be reversed. If you need help with a disagreement over custody, it is smart to talk to a Miami child custody attorney about what steps you can take to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father were not married but shared a minor child who was born in 2010. In 2012, the trial court established a parenting plan that dictated shared parental responsibility and a 70/30 timesharing schedule, primarily in favor of the mother. The plan required phone contact between the child and the noncustodial parent on specified days. In 2019, the father was arrested for healthcare fraud, prompting an emergency order awarding the mother sole custody.

Allegedly, the father was convicted in 2020. While serving a federal prison sentence, he filed a petition to enforce the phone call schedule and filed a supplemental petition focusing on child support. Following a hearing, the trial court expanded the father’s visitation rights, ordering four prison visits a year and a modified phone call schedule. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

When a married couple with minor children decides to divorce, they will typically have to determine their parental rights. Making custody determinations can be a lengthy process for Florida courts, and in most instances, they will issue temporary custody orders prior to delivering final orders. As explained in a recent Florida opinion, the courts have ample leeway when making temporary custody orders, and it is rare for them to be overturned. If you need help with a custody dispute, it is in your best interest to talk to a Miami child custody lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Factual History and Procedural Setting

it is reported that following a three-day evidentiary hearing, the trial court issued a temporary order that mandated that her eldest child was to continue attending military school. The order also specified that the father would maintain 100% timesharing of the three minor children, with the mother having no contact with them until the final trial.  The mother appealed.

Temporary Child Custody Determinations

On appeal, the mother argued that the trial court violated her right to due process and abused its discretion when making the temporary custody determinations. The court rejected this argument and affirmed the trial court ruling. Continue reading ›

In family law cases, the courts will order one party to pay the other’s legal fees in certain situations. In doing so, if the court finds that the party from whom fees are sought engaged in litigation conduct that is deemed egregious, vexatious, or meritless, the court may impose fees on that party to deter them from engaging in such behavior. Known as Rosen fees, they are typically reserved for cases involving the most egregious litigation behavior. The award of Rosen fees is at the discretion of the court, and the court will carefully evaluate the specific circumstances of each case before making such an award. It is important to note, however, that the Rosen case does not provide grounds for awarding such fees but sets forth the criteria for adjusting an award, as explained in a recent Florida ruling. If you are involved in a family law argument, it is smart to talk to a Miami family law lawyer about what steps you can take to protect your interests.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the mother and father engaged in a contentious paternity dispute. After the parties came to an agreement on paternity, the mother sought to establish a parenting plan and define parental responsibility and child support. The initial trial, conducted by the retiring judge, resulted in proposed findings that favored equal timesharing rights and shared parental responsibility, with details on exchanges and holidays. The parties couldn’t agree on a judgment, and the succeeding judge refused to enter one. A second trial was conducted, concluding with a final judgment granting the father majority timesharing and sole parental responsibility, which is the subject of a separate appeal.

It is reported that the father subsequently moved for fees under Rosen, alleging the mother’s conduct was hypocritical, lacked merit, and was against the child’s best interests. The court granted the request, citing the mother’s non-compliance with a speech therapy schedule and unsubstantiated concerns for the child’s safety. The court ordered the mother to pay $25,000 in fees, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida, the courts may deem it necessary to terminate parental rights under specific circumstances outlined in the Florida Statutes. Termination of parental rights is a serious legal action and is considered when it is determined to be in the best interest of the child due to factors that jeopardize the child’s well-being and safety. While generally, the Divison of Children and Families brings actions to terminate parental rights, parents can file termination actions as well, as discussed in a recent Florida opinion. If you need help with a dispute over child custody, it is advisable to confer with a Miami child custody attorney promptly.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the child was born in 2011 to the mother and Father, Venezuelan citizens whose relationship ended before her birth. A Venezuelan court approved a custody arrangement, but in July 2012, the mother brought the child to Miami, prompting the Father to file a Hague Convention petition for the child’s return to Venezuela. The court granted the Father’s petition, and the child returned to Venezuela.

Reportedly,  after the Father’s relocation to the U.S., a second Hague Convention case was initiated by the mother, but the court denied her petition. In 2013, the Father filed a petition for termination of the mother’s parental rights. The court issued a final judgment terminating the mother’s parental rights based on statutory grounds, including abandonment, conduct threatening the child’s well-being, egregious conduct, and conspiracy or solicitation to murder the other parent. The mother timely appealed. Continue reading ›