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

Child Custody and Visitation 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.

Child Custody and Visitation in Palm Beach Gardens

Restrictions on child custody and visitation by a judge in a court order must be accompanied by a description of the steps that a parent can take to reestablish unsupervised custody and visitation. In a recent case captioned Bahls v. Bahls a parent asked for a rehearing on a prior decision that was rendered by the Court. The appellate court granted the motion for a rehearing and reissued a revised opinion. The appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment because it failed to provide the specific steps required for the parent to end supervised visitation with her child. The trial court heard testimony from many witnesses on the appropriate timesharing arrangements for the parent and the child. The trial court ordered supervised visitation. The court also awarded ultimate parental responsibility to one of the parents. The Court permitted one parent to have most of the timesharing with the child and awarded supervised visitation to the other parent without providing any suggestion as to how unsupervised visitation could take place.

Modification of Child Custody and Visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In a child custody and visitation matter, absent an emergency, the failure to give notice of a temporary custody hearing is a denial of due process. In a recent case captioned Suleiman v. Suleiman the Florida Court of Appeal had before it a case where the former husband obtained an emergency ex parte order which modified the parties' timesharing schedule. The Court of Appeal reversed because the former wife was denied due process and because the modification of the custody and visitation schedule was inappropriate. A final judgment of dissolution was entered on January 22, 2008. The father was awarded visitation with the children every Wednesday and on alternating weekends. The former wife later remarried and moved to Polk County, Florida, with the children and her new husband. The former wife took the children out of the Orange County schools and enrolled them in schools in Polk County. 

Child Custody and Visitation in Palm Beach County, Florida

fam.jpgIn a child custody and visitation case, a parent is required to comply with the time-sharing schedule ordered by the Court and may not frustrate the other parent's ability to have a positive relationship with their children. In a case captioned Ford v. Ford, the Florida Court of Appeal recently found a parent in contempt of court and imposed sanctions against her for failing to comply with the court ordered parenting plan. The Court held that a parent may not encourage children not to spend time with the other parent. A parent may not participate in a child's refusal to stay at the other parent's home for time-sharing. A parent may not empower children to reject the children's relationship with the other parent. A parent should not schedule social events on days when the other parent has time-sharing with the children. A parent who does these things can be held in contempt of court. 

Child Custody and Visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In awarding child custody and visitation, the court order must make a finding of fact as to the best interest of the children. In Julia v. Julia, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Appellant Martha Julia ("the Wife") appeals the final judgment of support and the final judgment of dissolution of marriage related to her second marriage to Appellee Juan Carlos Julia ("the Husband"). The Wife argues that the trial court's judgments must be reversed in light of violations of her right to due process. We agree. Furthermore, we find six additional shortcomings with respect to the trial court's decisions that must be addressed on remand. Accordingly, we reverse the final judgments for reasons stated below and remand for further proceedings...First, in awarding the four children exclusive use and possession of the marital home, with the parents rotating in at two week intervals, the trial court's decision made no mention of "the best interests of the children" with respect to this ruling. This is a required factor for the court to consider when determining parental responsibility and distribution of assets. See §§ 61.075(1)(h), 61.13(2)(c), Fla. Stat. (2013). 

Child Custody and Visitation In North Palm Beach, Florida

In a child custody and visitation case, the trial court cannot order a timesharing plan that is materially different than the plan the parties requested. In Krift v. Obenour, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Because the rotating timesharing plan ordered by the trial court was such a material departure from the plan the parties requested, we reverse and remand for further proceedings on this issue. On appeal, the former wife argues that the trial court erred by ordering a rotating timesharing plan that neither party requested in their pleadings oral any time during trial. "[U]nder Florida Law a trial court may not order an annual, rotating time-sharing where neither parent requested such a plan in the pleadings, nor argued for the plan at the final hearing." Bainbridge v. Pratt, 68 So. 3d 310,314 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011); see also Flemming v. Flemming, 742 So. 2d 843, 844 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) ("The trial court did not have authority to rule on matters that were 'not the subject of appropriate pleadings and notice.' ").

Child Custody and Visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In a child custody and visitation proceeding, a party may request any other party to submit to an examination by a qualified expert when the condition that is the subject of the requested examination is in controversy. In Asteberg v. Russell, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Certiorari jurisdiction lies to review an order compelling a mental examination." J.B. v. M.M., 92 So. 3d 888,889 (Fla. 4th DCA2012); see also Vo v. Bui, 680 So. 2d 601,601 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996). Rule 1.360(a)(l) provides that "[a] party may request any other party to submit to... examination by a qualified expert when the condition that is the subject of the requested examination is in controversy."

Child custody and visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In a child custody and visitation proceeding, where time-sharing is ordered, the non-custodial parent's right to the child on rotating holidays has become so routine and necessary that to deny it requires factual findings justifying that decision. In Mills v. Johnson, the Florida Court of Appeal stated: "Furthermore, the trial court erred in accepting and adopting a time­sharing schedule that did not address holiday time-sharing. It is undisputed that the Former Husband failed to raise this issue in his exceptions to the magistrate's report. Nonetheless, if the errors in the magistrate's report are clear on its face, the trial court errs in adopting the report. See Torres v. Torres, 98 So. 3d 1171, 1171-72 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011).

Child Custody and Visitation in Boynton Beach, Florida

In a child custody and visitation proceeding under the Hague Convention, if there is a wrongful removal or retention of a child, the child must be returned unless it can be shown that: (1) the action for the child's return was commenced more than one year after the removal of the child and the child has become well-settled in his or her new environment; (2) the petitioner consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention; (3) there is a grave risk that the return of the child would expose him or her to physical or psychological harm; or(4) the return of the child would not be permitted under the fundamental principles of the requested country relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Convention also allows courts to decline to order removal if the child objects, if the child has reached a sufficient age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.

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