Articles Posted in Abuse, neglect and abandonment

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Adult_and_child.pngA recent 4th District Court of Appeal ruling clarified the proper factors for determining if a parent has sufficiently abandoned his child to allow the courts to terminate his parental rights and gave a pair of grandparents’ effort to adopt their grandchild new life. The appeals court’s ruling explained that, in order to terminate a parent’s legal rights to his child, the law requires proof that the parent showed an intent to reject his parental obligations, but it does not necessarily require evidence that the parent willfully disregarded the child’s safety.

S. fathered a child in 2002. In 2010, the child’s mother died. The mother’s parents then went to court seeking to adopt the child. As part of that process, they also asked the court to terminate the father’s parental rights. As part of their termination request, the grandparents argued that the father had abandoned the child, both financially and emotionally.

The trial court held a hearing. At the hearing’s conclusion, the judge ruled that the grandparents had proven that the father indeed had financially and emotionally abandoned his child. Nevertheless, the judge refused to terminate the father’s rights and denied the grandparents’ adoption petition. So, what went wrong? According to the trial court, the law also required the grandparents to prove that the father “willfully disregarded” the child’s safety, and they did not offer evidence on this point.
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A 23-year-old mother was recently charged with one count of child neglect after her 11-month-old son was found alone in a Miami motel room. According to police, the mother left her infant unattended in a playpen for several hours in a room at the motel on May 13th. A motel employee reportedly notified police the child was left alone after the employee entered the room to clean it. The child’s mother allegedly returned to the motel room more than two hours after authorities arrived. The mother reportedly told officers she left the child in the room because it was raining and she did not want him to get wet. Following the incident, she was taken into custody and later released on a $5,000 bond.

Last week, a Miami-Dade family court judge awarded temporary supervised custody of the baby to the woman’s parents. Judge Jeri Cohen expressed concern over awarding custody to the couple, however, as the woman’s father reportedly has a criminal record that includes a DUI manslaughter arrest. A follow-up court date during which Judge Cohen will make a long-term custody decision is scheduled for later this week. The mother has reportedly lost custody of all of her children, including one who was previously adopted by her parents. Judge Cohen ordered the mother, who is currently pregnant with her fourth child, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet. She also issued an order that stated the child’s grandparents must wear alcohol monitoring bracelets while the baby is in their custody.

Although it is unclear where the infant’s father is in this case, the custody of a couple’s child is always an especially emotional subject. Most parents worry about who will be tasked with caring for their children after a separation or divorce. In the State of Florida, a parent who would like to modify a child custody order must demonstrate that one of the parent’s circumstances has substantially changed. Additionally, the best interests of a couple’s child must also justify any requested change in custody. A family court judge will examine a number of factors following a request to modify custody. The factors include a parent’s fitness to raise the child, the child’s age, which parent is primarily responsible for the child’s upbringing, and the child’s own preference. Other relevant factors include allegations of child neglect, child abuse, or child abandonment, the moral fitness of the parents, and any evidence of sexual violence.
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1341264_rocking_horse sxchu.jpgYesterday, a judge in Miami-Dade’s Family Court lifted an emergency protection order that forbade a 22-year-old father from seeing his 3-year-old daughter. The father is currently engaged in a custody battle with the child’s mother, a Venezuelan national who reportedly accused him of kidnapping their daughter in March 2011. She allegedly filed a missing persons report on the child before returning to Venezuela to give birth to another baby. It is currently unclear whether she ever intends to return to the United States.

In February, the father was reportedly arrested in Pensacola and returned to Miami-Dade on interfering with child custody charges. He was released from jail on Wednesday. His mother was also reportedly arrested for interfering with child custody after she brought the child to court last month in order to demonstrate she was not missing and was being well cared for. Last Monday, a Miami-Dade judge dismissed both interfering with custody charges.

According to the man’s mother, she and her husband had custody of the child at the time the child’s mother reported her missing. The child’s mother allegedly accused the child’s father of child abuse, child neglect, and domestic violence as well as kidnapping. A home study of the grandmother’s residence reportedly revealed no environmental hazards, no evidence of abuse, and stated the child was happy. Following the home study, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman granted temporary custody of the child to the grandparents. Permanent custody of the child will not be resolved until the child’s mother returns from Venezuela.

To many parents, the question of who will retain custody of your children following a separation or divorce is an emotional one. Since October 2008, child custody arrangements in Florida have been referred to as time-sharing schedules. A time-sharing agreement generally outlines the amount of time a child will spend with each parent, including overnights, weekends, school breaks, and holidays. If parents cannot come to an agreement regarding a time-sharing plan, one will be ordered by a family court. A Florida family court will normally examine the moral fitness of the parents, any evidence of abuse, and a variety of other statutory factors when creating a time-sharing schedule. Because a Florida parent who wishes to modify a time-sharing plan must show substantially changed circumstances, modifying a time-sharing plan can be difficult. If you are a Florida parent who would like to establish or modify your child’s time-sharing plan, it is a good idea to contact a skilled family law lawyer to assist you.
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A Titusville father and his girlfriend are being held without bail in Brevard County after authorities reportedly removed a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly starved and locked in a small closet in their home. The son of the 38-year-old father was reportedly taken to a local hospital where he was treated for dehydration and malnourishment after police went to the home to investigate a child abuse report. The father and his girlfriend were both reportedly arrested by police and charged with three counts each of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. During an emergency custody hearing, the boy, his 10-year old sister, and the girlfriend’s 15-year-old son were reportedly placed in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families by Brevard County Judge Tonya Rainwater.

The couple is accused of allegedly starving the boy and locking him up as punishment for stealing food. According to police, the 12-year-old weighed only 40 pounds when he was removed from the home. The child was allegedly locked in a closet, locked in a bathroom, or strapped to a bed repeatedly over the course of the preceding year. The other two children taken from the home were also examined by physicians.

The father was reportedly investigated in 2010 for child neglect. After the allegations were investigated, the boy was allegedly taken out of the Brevard Public School system. Until this month, there was no further contact between the household and child welfare officials. Although the children are under the supervision of the Florida Department of Children and Families, they are currently being cared for by a grandparent. State officials are also attempting to locate the 12-year-old’s mother. They have reportedly located and are communicating with the father of the girlfriend’s son. The father of the 12-year-old reportedly has another child living with an ex-wife in Ohio whom he has not seen in approximately 14 years.

Few subjects are more emotional to parents than who will care for your children after a divorce or other separation. In the State of Florida, a parent who seeks to modify a child custody order has a responsibility to demonstrate substantially changed circumstances and the child’s best interests must justify any change. A family court will examine a parent’s fitness to raise the child, the parent primarily responsible for the child’s upbringing, the child’s age, and the child’s preference when considering a request to change a custody arrangement. Other factors such as the moral fitness of the parents, any evidence of sexual violence, child neglect, child abuse, or child abandonment, and various other statutory factors will also be examined.
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Wallin.pngToday, Broward marital and family law Circuit Judge Susan Greenhawt appointed a guardian ad litem for two girls and ordered an expedited study to determine if a relative is capable of having temporary child custody of the minor children. While the court waits to learn whether or not the young girls, ages 6 months and 5 years old, have a relative who they can reside with they have been placed in foster care. The court also ordered supervised time-sharing between the mother and the minor children when she is released from jail.

On Tuesday, an anonymous tip led Broward Sherrif’s officers to a home where they discovered roaches in three rooms, trash and mold in the living room, foul odors in the kitchen and piles of garbage on the floor. The two minor children were sleeping in a roach infested bedroom without sheets on their bed. An animal control officer also discovered filthy and malnourished pitbulls in the back yard.

When child protective services investigators arrived at the home, they were unable to locate any responsible adults to watch the two children. The children were immediately placed in protective child custody.