Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, WEST PALM BEACH, WELLINGTON, BOCA RATON561-328-1111

Unmarried Fathers and Unmarried Mothers and Contempt of Court in Florida

This paternity case involved an unmarried mother and an unmarried father in Hillsborough County, Florida. This litigation started when the child was 16 months old. The parties were initially able to settle matters involving their personal property. However, disputes about the child continued for many years. After an August 2008 hearing, the trial court entered a temporary order awarding majority time-sharing to the father. The remaining issues were referred to a general magistrate. The general magistrate did not conduct a hearing on these issues for two years. One of the parents objected, and the reviewing court did not issue an order for three more years. The mother objected to this ruling and the court did not rule on the mother's objections for another two years.

The father was then found in contempt of court for violating the temporary timesharing order. In the contempt order, the father lost his majority timesharing with the child. The court granted a custody modification and awarded the mother equal timesharing. The father was also admonished not to exercise sole parental responsibility and was ordered not to engage in conduct that hindered effective co-parenting.

The Court of Appeal ruled that trial courts in Florida cannot modify custody orders as a sanction for contempt of court. Motions for contempt are filed to enforce the provisions contained in parenting plans contained in court orders. Trial courts are prohibited from modifying custody provisions as a sanction for a party's contempt of court. The reason for this is that the penalty of changing custody does not compel compliance. Instead, it punishes the child for the parent's misconduct. The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that the better course of action is to grant additional visitation or make-up visitation. The Court held that a trial court may not sanction a parent by reducing his or her timesharing. This sanction is not permitted as a matter of law in the State of Florida. Accordingly, the trial court's order was reversed and the case was remanded to the trial court.

To speak to an attorney for unmarried fathers and unmarried mothers in West Palm Beach, Florida; contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Request Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

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

Toll Free: 800-411-3434
Phone: 407-917-5005
Phone: (561) 328-1111
Fax: (561) 472-1568
Map & Directions

Wellington Office
Wellington Reserve
1035 South State Road 7
Suite 315
Wellington, Florida 33414

Toll Free: 800-411-3434
Phone: 407-917-5005
Fax: (561) 472-1568
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach Office
Phillips Point
777 South Flagler Drive
Suite 800
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

Toll Free: 800-411-3434
Phone: 407-917-5005
Fax: (561) 472-1568
Map & Directions

Boca Raton Office
One Boca Place
2255 Glades Road
Suite 324A
Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Toll Free: 800-411-3434
Phone: 407-917-5005
Fax: (561) 472-1568
Map & Directions