A Child Custody and Visitation case involving emergency intervention by the Court was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned McAbee v. McAbee. In this case the parents married in South Carolina and divorced in Virginia. They have one child. The mother alleged that the father sexually abused the child in Virginia and in Florida. The father admitted to sexually abusing the child in letters that he sent to the mother. The father also documented to having a sex addiction. The father later denied the sexual abuse and claimed that the sex addiction was a reaction to taking certain medication. The mother filed for custody in Virginia and a psychologist stated that the father was no threat to the child. The father moved to Florida and filed for divorce in Virginia. The mother also moved to Florida. The Virginia court granted the father supervised time-sharing. The mother petitioned for relief in Florida and the case was dismissed. Later on, the Virginia court gave the father graduated timesharing. The mother filed more petitions in Florida and the Florida court denied her petitions. The mother moved to South Carolina with the child. The Virginia court then awarded the father sole custody. The mother sought a protective order in South Carolina, which was denied. The mother then filed an action in Broward County, Florida. The Broward County judge found that the child had been abused. The court issued an injunction and ordered the child to have no contact with the father.
The Florida Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the Child Custody and Visitation case back to the trial court because the trial court failed to communicate with the Virginia court (in which custody proceedings had been ongoing for years) before issuing its ruling. This violated the UCCJEA which requires the trial court, under its temporary emergency jurisdiction provisions, to confer with the trial court in Virginia before it made its timesharing determination. The trial court was required to immediately contact the Virginia court when it learned of its timesharing orders.
To speak with a Child Custody and Visitation attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.