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 ›