Articles Posted in Custody/Time-Sharing

In Florida, when a couple with minor children divorces, the courts must not only determine the parents’ rights with regard to child support and visitation, but also which parent can make important decisions about how the child will be raised. As explained in a recent Florida ruling, the law dictates that absent evidence that doing so would harm the child in question, the courts must grant equal parental responsibility rights. If you are dealing with a custody dispute, it is wise to talk to a Miami child custody lawyer about what action you can take to safeguard your interests as soon as possible.

Legal Background

It is alleged that in August 2019, the wife initiated legal proceedings to dissolve her marriage. At the time, the couple had two minor children; one is still a minor, while the other has reached the age of majority. In May 2021, the trial court issued a final judgment officially ending the marriage, deferring the resolution of various other matters associated with the dissolution. Subsequently, in 2021, the wife modified her initial petition to request exclusive parental responsibility for the minor child. A consent partial judgment was later reached by both parties and officially sanctioned by the trial court in March 2022. This judgment granted joint parental responsibility.

It is reported that the unresolved issues, primarily involving child support and visitation arrangements, were then brought before the court for trial. The trial court directed both parties to adhere to the previously agreed-upon consent partial judgment and granted joint parental responsibility for the minor child, affirming the shared responsibility aspect of the consent partial judgment. The court also incorporated a comprehensive parenting plan that stipulated shared parental responsibility but granted the wife ultimate decision-making authority concerning the child’s education, academics, and non-emergency healthcare in the event of disagreement between the parties. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

In a Florida child custody case, the court’s driving concern is what is in the best interest of the child that is the subject of the suit. The court will look at numerous factors to determine what custody arrangement will best benefit the child’s welfare and well-being. The courts generally are not permitted to analyze factors on a prospective basis, but there are some exceptions, as discussed by a recent Florida opinion issued in a custody matter in which the father appealed the trial court ruling. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is advisable to confer with a Miami child custody lawyer regarding your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father were parties to a custody action to determine parental rights with regard to their minor child. The trial court issued a judgment determining timesharing and parental rights. The judgment also permitted the mother to relocate to another city in Florida with the minor child when the child began attending school and allowed for a modification of time-sharing rights due to the relocation.

Allegedly, the father appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in issuing a judgment that allowed for an automatic modification of timesharing rights in the future, as it relied on a prospective-based analysis, which Florida law prohibits. Continue reading ›

The Florida courts typically take great care when developing parenting plans to ensure that any division of custody or timesharing rights is in the best interest of the subject children. As such, if a party wants to alter a parenting plan ordered by a court, they generally must demonstrate that a substantial and continuing change in circumstances has occurred. Recently, a Florida court examined what constitutes a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a modification in a custody case. If you share custody of your child, and you or your co-parent want to alter the parenting plan, it is wise to consult a Miami child custody attorney to determine your options.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties married in 1995. They had two children before the wife filed a petition for dissolution in 2011. The court first conducted a trial on timesharing and parenting issues and then conducted a trial on remaining matters. During the first trial, the wife offered evidence that the husband was diagnosed as a pedophile. Accordingly, she sought sole parental responsibility and asked that the husband have supervised timesharing.

Reportedly, the husband admitted he was attracted to underage boys but opposed the motion’s parenting plan. Based on the admission and other evidence presented in the case, the court found that it was in the children’s best interest to create a timesharing plan that increased the father’s rights upon completion of certain tasks. The court also created other measures for the safety of the children, including the requirement that the father attend therapy. Continue reading ›

Generally, when Florida residents are engaged in disagreements over parental rights, they will file a custody action in the county in which they or their co-parent resides. If a Florida court can validly exercise jurisdiction in a custody case and issues an initial custody determination, the court’s jurisdiction will typically continue until the parties move out of the state or the court determines that the parties no longer have a connection to the state. As discussed in a recent Florida opinion issued in a custody matter, the argument that a forum is inconvenient is not a sufficient basis for relinquishing jurisdiction to another state. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is wise to confer with a Miami divorce attorney regarding your rights as soon as possible.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the mother’s and father’s marriage was dissolved via a final judgment issued by a Florida court. The judgment also determined their rights with regard to custody and timesharing of their minor children. The father is a member of the military and is a Florida resident, but he is stationed outside of Florida.

It is reported that after obtaining the court’s permission, the mother moved to Idaho with the children while the dissolution was pending. The final dissolution order confirmed her relocation. The mother then filed a motion in an Idaho court to amend the custody agreement. She also filed a motion with the Florida court that issued the final judgment in the dissolution proceeding to transfer jurisdiction of the custody case to the Idaho court, in which she filed her motion on the grounds that Florida had become an inconvenient forum. The Florida court denied her motion, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

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 ›