Articles Tagged with Jurisdiction-custody

Oftentimes, the U.S. Supreme Court determines the future of major corporations and interest groups, but occasionally it will decide the fate of child and two separate families. However, on January 4, 2013, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case of ‘Baby Veronica’. In this case, Veronica’s future is at stake between her adopting parents and her Native American biological father.The baby Veronica case hinges on the applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). Before the 1970’s, there was no substantial federal statute to safeguard the rights of a Native American child adopted out of their tribe. Many children were adopted, with or without consent, out of their tribes to non-Native families. The ICWA was signed to balance the interests of adopting parents against tribal rights.

Baby Veronica was born in September 2009, her biological father is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Her legal parents lived in South Carolina, knew the biological mother of Veronica and even visited the mother in Oklahoma for the birth. The mother had agreed to the adoption but the biological father fought the adoption. Without any sort of marital bonds between the biological mother and father, typically, this adoption should go on without a hitch.

However, in 2011, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered the return of Veronica to her birth father based on the ICWA’s preferential treatment of paternal rights. As earlier noted, the ICWA not only intended to safeguard tribes and their future generations from purposeful outsider penetration but also to benefit the interests of children growing up outside their culture. Sociological research repeatedly suggests that cross cultural adoption may often leads to severe identity issues. Adoption related identity issues are heavily correlated to later drug use, alcoholism, jail, even self-harm. These issues are heavily prevalent amongst former adopted Native Americans. Adopting parents must be well aware of the struggle their child may go through, which might be foreign to the parents.

The ICWA obviously only regulates adoption cases involving children from tribal homes, but Florida has other state statutes regulating adoption. The Florida Putative Father Registry is state registry for biological fathers. A man who has heterosexual intercourse with a woman in Florida may file a notarized affidavit in the registry. Before an adoption may proceed, a search will be done into the Putative Father Registry for potential biological fathers who may protest the adoption. The potential father only has a limited time after the intercourse to register if he expects to be able object to a possible adoption.
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During my last post, I began to discuss if a divorce or custody court in Florida had jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enfrocement Act (“UCCJEA”) to make an initial child custody determination. This blog post is a continuation of the case of Karam v. Karam from the Third District Court of Appeal.

On December 6, 2007, the Guadeloupe court entered an order finding that the children’s residence was determined to be the Husband’s residence and that they were to return to Guadeloupe to reside with the Husband. The Guadeloupe court specifically found that the “usual and permanent centre of the minor children’s interest” was and always had been in France, their stay in Florida (for over two years with the Wife) was “purely linguistic and cultural enrichment,”, and that the petition was filed in the French court before one was filed by the Wife in the American Court.

The Florida court dismissed the custody portion of the Wife’s petition for dissolution of marriage. The Florida court found that the facts and arguments presented were the same facts and arguments presented to the French appellate court which had affirmed the order of the French court, the Wife should not be permitted to re-litigate the custody issue in Florida, under the UCCJEA the French court’s order constitute the initial custody determination, the French courts exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with the UCCJEA, the French court’s determinations were made meeting the jurisdictional standards of the UCCJEA and that the Wife failed to demonstrate that the parties stay in Florida was anything other than temporary.

During divorce and paternity proceedings, Sandy T. Fox, a Fort Lauderdale attorney, can assist clients with custody and time-sharing disputes. One of the most common conflicts related to custody cases, such as those in Broward County, Florida, deals with jurisdictional competition and conflicts with courts of other states and countries pertaining to child custody and time-sharing. The divorce court can make an initial child custody determination if Florida is the home state of a child on the date that the proceedings commence.

In Karam v. Karam, the Third District Court of Appeal was presented with the issue of whether the trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law in dismissing the custody portion of the Wife’s petition for dissolution of marriage was quashed.

The parties have two children and lived in Guadeloupe until 2005. In 2005, the parties entered the USA on the Husband’s investor visa and placed their home in Guadeloupe for sale. The Husband created a corporation in Florida and opened a store in Miami, Florida. The parties purchased a $1.2 million home in Florida, obtained insurance for the residence and cars and obtained a Florida drivers license. The Wife obtained a US social security card and health insurance for the children. While the minor children attended school in Florida, they spent the holidays and summers with the parties in Guadeloupe. Although the parties resided in Miami, Florida since 2005, the parties also maintained a residence, bank accounts, vehicles and businesses in Guadeloupe.

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