Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach And Wellington, Florida Offices 561-328-1095

May 2017 Archives

Child Custody and Visitation in Wellington, Florida

In a child custody and visitation case, the Florida Court of Appeal recently ruled that a trial court cannot choose one parent's religious beliefs over the others' absent a showing of harm to the children. In Steinman v. Steinman the mother appealed a trial court's order finding her in contempt of court for unilaterally making decisions regarding her children's religion. The parties' marital settlement agreement provided for joint decision-making concerning all major decisions involving the children. The father contended that the mother's unilateral decision concerning the children's religious education constituted contempt of court.

Child Custody and Visitation in Wellington, Florida

In making a child custody and visitation award that provides for ultimate decision-making, a trial court must delineate the specific areas over which a parent can exercise this authority. In a recent case captioned McClure v. Beck, the former wife filed an appeal of a lower court decision which modified the parties' final judgment. The Court of Appeal agreed with the former wife's argument that the lower court decision should be reversed because the trial court erroneously gave the former husband ultimate decision-making authority without describing the specific areas over which he could exercise this authority. The parties' original final judgment of dissolution of marriage gave the parents equal time­sharing with their children. It required the parties to live in Indian River County. The former wife petitioned the Court to relocate to California. The lower court denied the former wife's petition. Notwithstanding the Court's ruling, the former wife remained in California. The former husband then filed a petition to modify the parties' time-sharing schedule and asked the Court to award him ultimate decision-making authority if the parties were unable to agree. The magistrate gave the former husband ultimate decision-making authority when the parties disagreed on major decisions concerning the welfare of the children. The trial court affirmed the magistrate's decision. The Court of Appeal reversed the magistrate's and the trial court's rulings.

Adultery in Alimony Cases in Florida

In making an alimony award, adultery and infidelity can only be considered by the trial judge when the adulterous conduct involves the dissipation of marital assets. In a case captioned Keyser v. Keyser, the parties were married for twenty-years. This is considered a long term marriage. When there is a long term marriage, there is an initial presumption that an award of permanent alimony is appropriate. It was also alleged in Keyser v. Keyser that one of the spouses engaged in marital infidelity. 

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Palm Beach Gardens Office
The Financial Center at the Gardens
3801 PGA Boulevard
Suite 600
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410

Phone: 561-328-1095
Fax: (561) 472-1568
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Wellington Reserve
1035 South State Road 7
Suite 315
Wellington, Florida 33414

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