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Articles Posted in In The News (Custody/Time Sharing)

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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This week, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal declined to disqualify Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis from a child custody case between two prominent area lawyers. After the two attorneys divorced in 2005, the former couple agreed to share custody of their two small children equally. Since that time, their relationship reportedly deteriorated so much so that the former wife, a law professor, asked Judge Espinosa Dennis to hold the former husband, a partner at a law firm, in contempt for allegedly violating provisions in their divorce agreement. According to the ex-wife, the ex-husband has continuously and repeatedly sent her abusive emails. The ex-wife also asked the judge to modify the former couple’s custody agreement.

Last November, the ex-husband filed a motion asking Judge Espinosa Dennis to recuse herself from the custody case after the law firm at which the ex-wife’s attorney is employed co-sponsored a fundraising event and donated $500 to Judge Espinosa Dennis’ re-election campaign. Judge Espinosa Dennis called the motion legally insufficient and denied his request. The former husband then appealed to Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal seeking her removal from the case. According to the ex-husband, it would be impossible for Judge Espinosa Dennis to treat him fairly due to the donations made to her campaign. Interestingly, the ex-husband’s own law firm also reportedly donated $500 to the judge’s re-election campaign last December.

The ex-wife’s appellate attorney argued that the ex-husband is simply unhappy with Judge Espinosa Dennis’ prior rulings against him. He also claims the former husband has continued the litigation in an attempt to drain his former wife’s financial resources. Because of this, the ex-wife asked the appellate court to award her approximately $100,000 in attorney’s fees. In a judgment which offered no legal reasoning except a citation to a 1991 Supreme Court of Florida case, a panel of Third District Court judges denied the ex-husband’s petition to remove Judge Espinosa Dennis from the case. Judges Richard J. Suarez, Judges Juan Ramirez Jr., and Vance E. Salter also provisionally approved the ex-wife’s request for legal fees.

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. If you have minor children, your final judgment of divorce will include a parenting plan and a custody arrangement, also called a time-sharing plan. Such a plan will outline which parent a child will spends holidays, overnights, and all other days with each week. If parents cannot agree on a time-sharing plan, one will be ordered by the court. The modification of a time-sharing plan can be difficult as a parent who is seeking modification must demonstrate changed circumstances justify the modification. If you are seeking to establish or modify your child’s time-sharing plan, a capable Broward County family law lawyer can assist you.
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A Miami-Dade judge has refused to recuse herself in a heated Florida custody dispute between two prominent attorneys, despite her alleged ties to the law firm representing the former wife. The spouses divorced in 2005 after seven years of marriage. At the time of their divorce, the couple reportedly agreed to share equal custody of their two sons. Since then, the ex-wife has accused the ex-husband of violating provisions in the former couple’s divorce agreement by repeatedly calling her names in emails. She has asked Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis to hold him in contempt and amend the custody agreement.

According to Florida election records, the law firm at which the former wife’s attorney is employed donated $500 to Judge Espinosa Dennis’ re-election campaign on November 15th. The day before, the firm also co-sponsored a fundraiser for Espinosa Dennis at a restaurant in South Miami. The former husband filed a motion asking Judge Espinosa Dennis to recuse herself on November 1st after invitations to the re-election fundraiser were distributed. Judge Espinosa Dennis denied his request and he appealed to Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. He purportedly feels he will be unable to receive a fair hearing before the lower court judge.

The ex-wife’s law firm is also seeking an award of approximately $100,000 in costs and attorney’s fees against the ex-husband. Her appellate attorney has stated that the former husband’s recusal argument has no merit and is legally indefensible. According to the ex-wife’s lawyer, the ex-wife’s law firm took no substantive part in the re-election fundraiser and only attended the event. He also said that the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee only requires a judge to analyze an attorney’s campaign involvement when faced with a recusal request. No employee at the law firm is on Judge Espinosa Dennis’ campaign committee.

Although the former husband claims Judge Espinosa Dennis had an obligation to disclose the law firm’s fundraising efforts as a possible conflict of interest, the former wife’s attorney argues that the ex-husband is merely upset with the judge’s prior rulings against him. He also alleges that the ex-husband has continued litigation for more than two years in an attempt to drain his ex-wife’s financial resources. The former husband’s attorney stated the judge’s decision to continue to preside over the case is insensitive and fails to take into account how any reasonable individual would react given the situation.

Custody arrangements in Florida are referred to as time-sharing plans. A time-sharing plan will specify the amount of time a child will spend with each parent each week. The plan will also specify where children will spend overnights and holidays. If a child’s parents are unable to agree on a time-sharing schedule, the court will set a schedule for them. A court ordered time-sharing plan will take into account statutory factors such as the child’s preference and any instances of abuse or violence. In order to modify a time-sharing plan, Florida law requires the parent seeking modification to show substantially changed circumstances.
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A Lee County judge signed an order Thursday demanding the return of Country singer Mindy McCready’s 5-year-old son, Zander, to his maternal grandmother’s care in Florida. McCready reportedly took the boy to her home in Tennessee after visiting him late last month at her father’s Florida home. McCready, who is reportedly seven months pregnant with twins, said she was currently incapable of travel and allegedly refused to return her son to Florida.

McCready’s mother was named Zander’s guardian in 2007. Since then, the two have engaged in a long battle over his custody. The 36-year-old singer recently accused her mother of abusing Zander and stated she took the child in an effort to protect him. Her mother denies the allegations. In August, McCready also filed a libel lawsuit against her mother.

Early Saturday morning, Arkansas authorities reportedly took Zander into custody at a previously unoccupied summer home in Heber Springs. McCready allegedly did not have permission to be on the property and was found hiding in a bedroom closet with her son. The Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services is currently making arrangements to return the child to his grandmother in Florida. McCready has allegedly told her half-brother via text message their mother would never see her again.

McCready has reportedly led a complicated life since finding fame. She allegedly suffers from severe depression, has publicly battled a drug addiction, and she spent time in the hospital three years ago for an alleged suicide attempt. It is unclear whether McCready will now face criminal charges for violating the custody arrangement and the judge’s order.

Changes to child custody arrangements must be approved by the courts. In Florida, a parent must show substantially changed circumstances since the original arrangement was created before a court will modify a child custody arrangement. Additionally, the child’s best interests must justify any change. A parent’s fitness to raise the child, the child’s age, the parent primarily responsible for the child’s upbringing, and the child’s preference are all factors a court will look at when determining the best interests of a child. The court will also look at other factors such as the moral fitness of the parents, any evidence of sexual violence, child abuse, child neglect or child abandonment, and various other statutory factors.
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Today, 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.

Last Friday a ten year old autistic boy was abandoned at Broward General Medical Center. This weekend the mother of this child appeared before Circuit Judge Marina Garcia-Wood, a marital and family law Judge, at the Broward Courthouse for a child custody hearing. At thea hearing, the court wanted an explanation why her ten year old son, Benjamin, was found wandering around an emergency room on Friday.

The mother told the judge that she suffers from bipolar depression and recently separated from her husband. She has two other children, is unemployed and was recently evicted from her foreclosed home. Mrs. Benjamin dropped the minor child off at the hospital because she could not take care of him or find assistance to help her with the minor child.

While the boy’s father travelled from his residence in Islamorada after hearing that his son was abandoned, the minor child has been placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families pending a complete investigation. He has been taken to a foster home for children with special needs so that he can receive the services that he needs.

Many children from divorced parents experience difficulties with math and social skills. Emotionally, they experience anxiety and depression. While parents predivorce problems do not influence their kid’s social and academic progress, children fall behind and fail to catch up for at least two years after their parents divorce in Miami or Fort Lauderdale.

Research now shows that divorce is very difficult for children. The stress can double a kid’s risk of a stroke. In a recent university study, children were followed from kindergarten until eighth grade. Researchers followed children whose parents divorced between their kindergarten and third-grade years compared with 3,433 children from intact homes.

According to WPLG Local 10 News, Jorge Barahona, whose adopted daughter, Nubia, was found dead in the back of his pickup truck has been charged with attempted murder after her 10 year old twin brother, Victor Barahona, was found badly burned by a chemical in the same truck. The minor child is at the pediatric intensive care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital. While Barahona, 53, faces child abuse and attempted murder charges in Palm Beach County his daughter, Jennifer Perez, appeared before Judge Sandy Karlan in Miami for an emergency child custody hearing.

Judge Sandy Karlan heard testimony that Jennifer Perez, daughter of Jorge Barahona, knew that the twins were being abused. Allesandra Perez, the 7 year old grandaughter of Jorge Barahona, told her father, Yovani Perez, that the 10 year old twins Victor and Nubia were required to stay in a bathroom at the Barahona home with their hands and feet tied together.

On February 18, 2011, Judge Sandy Karlan commenced proceedings to terminate Jennifer Perez’s parental rights on a permanent basis. In the interim, she temporary changed custody to the father, Yovani Perez, and ordered that Jennifer Perez was to have no visitation, time-sharing or contact with her daughter, either directly or indirectly. Judge Karlan warned Ms. Perez that any violations of the court’s directives would result in her being held in contempt of court.

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