Florida Court Explains Sanctions for Violating a Parenting Plan

In divorce actions involving minor children, the courts will typically determine parental responsibility and time-sharing rights. Regardless of whether a parent agrees with the custody determinations made by a court, they must abide by them; otherwise, they may be sanctioned. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the court granted the father compensatory time-sharing days due to the mother’s refusal to comply with the custody order. If you have questions about your options with regard to protecting your parental rights, it is recommended that you consult a Miami child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and father had two minor children before divorcing. The final judgment of dissolution included a parenting plan. The father filed a contempt motion against the mother, alleging that she had denied him timesharing with their younger child on multiple occasions. In his motion, the father requested compensatory timesharing for the missed days. After an evidentiary hearing, the court granted the father’s request and awarded him compensatory timesharing for thirteen overnights that were denied to him. The mother appealed, arguing that the court violated her right to due process by providing relief beyond what the father sought in his motion.

Sanctions for Violating a Parenting Plan

On appeal, the court rejected the mother’s reasoning. In doing so, the court explained that if a court grants a remedy that a party did not request, it constitutes a violation of due process. As such, the trial court would have violated the mother’s due process rights if it granted the father greater compensatory timesharing than he sought. Contrary to the mother’s assertions, however, the court found that the trial court did not do so.

The court explained that in the father’s motion, he sought compensatory timesharing for the days he missed with the younger child, which ultimately amounted to thirteen days, and that the court had awarded exactly that—thirteen nights of compensatory timesharing. Thus, the court rejected the mother’s argument that the father did not request makeup timesharing in his motion and concluded that the court did not grant more relief than what was sought.

Additionally, the court had observed that even if there were any doubt about the father’s request, he explicitly clarified his request during the hearing, and the mother had ample opportunity to challenge his claim. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Skillful Miami Attorney

Parents who refuse to abide by custody orders will typically face sanctions, which may include a modification of their time-sharing rights. If you are involved in a dispute over child custody, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. The skillful Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. can assess the facts of your case and offer you advice regarding what measures you can take to protect your interests. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.