New Child Custody Laws in Florida – 2014


After some significant changes to Florida child custody laws a number of years ago, there has been a drop off in legislative success regarding child custody. We have assembled a quick overview on proposed laws during the last decade, and the resulting success or lack of success.

This page will be updated each year to bring you the latest news of new Florida custody laws.


2014 – died in legislature

SB 750 – Rights of Grandparents and Great-grandparents

 

This bill was an attempt to expand the custody and visitation rights of grandparents and great-grandparents in Florida. The Florids Supreme Court struck down previous laws giving grandparents some rights. This law was the latest attempt to reinstate the rights of extended family.

 

2014 – died in legislature

HB 789 – Rights Of Grandparents And Great-Grandparents

 

Another bill that attempted to establish grandparent visitation rights. The problem with many of these types of laws is that they directly affect established constitutional rights of parents.

 

2013 – died in legislature

CS/HB 19 – Grandparent Visitation Rights

 

One of a multi-year effort to grant visitation rights with children to grandparents on both sides of the family.

 

 

2013 – vetoed by Governor Scott

CS/CS/HB 231 – Family Law

 

This landmark legislation was and still is known as the alimony reform bill. A less controversial component, but relatively unknown, was a provision that required judges to begin their thinking with equal parenting time. This one provision would have changed the face of child custody law in Florida. Unfortunately the alimony provision received all the attention and caused the demise of the proposed law.

 

2013 – died in legislature

SB 1466 – Shared Parenting

 

The first attempt in Florida to create a law that steered judges to grant equal parenting time to both parents.

 

2008 – died in legislature

HB 1315 –Child Custody and Visitation

 

This proposed child custody law created a “presumption” that contact with any parent guilty of domestic violence was detrimental to a child. This law, if successful, would have created tremendous amounts of litigation over child custody, and domestic violence issues.

 

2008 – Child Custody – signed by Governor

 

Landmark Florida custody law that completely remolded the concepts custody attorneys work with every day. The law called for elimination of the Primary Residential and Secondary Residential titles. It also eliminated the term “visitation”. The 2008 new custody law required courts to approve a comprehensive parenting plan, consisting of over a dozen pages of detailed plans for parenting children. Finally, the law eliminated any presumptions that parenting time should be a given pattern. Many people mistakenly thought that change created a requirement that judges grant rotating custody in all cases.

 

2008 – signed into law by Governor

SB 2532 Relating to Child Custody and Support

 

This law started a larger trend – to equalize rights of both parents in child custody cases. This law changed the main title of the divorce and custody statutes to include the phrase: “Time-Sharing” and eliminated the word “Custody”. That new law also expanded protections for military members involved in a child custody case.

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115 thoughts on “New Custody Laws in Florida

  1. I am looking for opinions. My ex husband and myself disagree on the interpretation of our time sharing schedule that is court ordered. This is what it states; When the parents are using an alternating weekend plan and the holiday schedule would result in one parent having the child(ren) for three weekends in a row, the parents will exchange the following weekend, so that each has two weekends in a row before the regular alternating weekend pattern resumes.
    Can somebody elaborate on this for me?

    • Sorry for being blunt, but it means what it says. The concern is that if you have weeks 1 and 3, and a holiday schedule would give you week 2, the result would be three weeks in a row. Your language would change that to give you weeks 1 and 2. Week 3 and 4 would go to the other parent. Then the normal schedule would resume.

  2. if a parent that is time sharing there child breaks the court order and keeps the child from the other parent, what can or would the court do about that parent?

  3. After the divorce is finalized, can the parent with primary custody take the child out of state to visit family? Also, when one parent has been out of work, lying repeatedly about non existent interviews, doing drugs (and likely dealing them) plus pawning or selling everything in sight to get cash for several years of the marriage, in addition to punching walls, smashing furniture and creating a fearful environment when cash wasn’t readily available can custody/visitation be hampered? If most bills have been late or unpaid and eviction process has taken place, can this affect a parent’s rights? I hope so. Parental influence on a child should be nothing but good for the sake of the child’s future.

  4. Goodnight Mr. Howardlken, my 12 yr old son has had shared custody with his dad and I. With me being the primary custodial parent. My son now wants to have the choice of when to go to his dad’s house and how long he has to stay. What is the best process? He is in fear of his dad knowing that he feels this way and is in fear of his dad’s reaction…. Please advise. Thank you so much for helping all of us. God bless and favor you.

    • Right this moment the law does not support a 12 yo making a decision not to see a parent. So the only thing to do is to discuss the situation between the three of you.

  5. I thought there was a law stating; if the child is of component age & sound mind, able to make sound judgement. They were allowed to speak to the judge themselves ….

    • There is a law that sounds like that. But it does not allow a 12yo to completely make a decision. And most judges will not speak directly to children.

  6. I have temp majority custody of my two daughters, 15, 17. Mom was the one that walked out on us, she has anger and control issues, my girls DO NOT want to go to mom or spend time with her for visitation (one evening a week and everyother weekend), at the moment I ask my girls to driver over to moms for visitation but they only stay a few min’s before coming home, this has been going on for 6 months now, the final divorce hearing is 5 weeks away, but in the temp hearing the judge would not allow my girls to testify in court about mom’s behavior towards them . Of course my soon to be EX is saying all things, I’ve brain washed them, etc. A couple of questions, what can happen to my girls if they finally tell me they will not go to mom’s ? Can the Ex only state her opinion and lies with out the girls testifying mom’s erratic behavior when they have visited her ? We live in FL.

  7. My final hearing for my divorce is in 2 weeks. My soon to be ex husband is trying to get sole custody of our son but hasn’t paid child support or seen him in 14 months. Does that count as child abandonment, and if so is there something I can file for that?

  8. In my parenting plan – it states that if my ex were to move from the residence in which the children are zoned, then my address will be used for school designation purposes. My ex did move and she ignored the parenting plan and then withdrew the children into her new school district. I have now been awarded a court order that the original parenting plan must be filed. My question: do public schools follow parenting plans and court orders, or do they look at something different to determine residence? I expect my ex will be looking for a loop hole and I am trying to cover my bases. I reside in Florida, thank you

    • Yes, the info mstone referenced is correct. The answer is that schools do follow court orders – when they are clear and unambiguous. Some schools will dig into a parenting order to follow it. Others may need a followup order. In the end you will get your way. The only variable is how much effort it will take to get your way.

      • Thank you Howard. I have been listening to some rhetoric that they (Pupil assignment) follow majority vs. minority time sharing (we are 60/40), and nothing else (including court orders). Not sure if you ever heard of anything like that? I appreciate the fast reply and renewed confidence that I am headed in the right direction.

    • Thank you Howard. I have been listening to some rhetoric that they (Pupil assignment) follow majority vs. minority time sharing (we are 60/40), and nothing else (including court orders). Not sure if you ever heard of anything like that? I appreciate the fast reply and renewed confidence that I am headed in the right direction.

  9. Howard, a follow up comment to the posting below. Once this person withdraws the child from the school and then enrolls he/she in the new school, what prevents the former spouse from just doing this all over again?

    • Good question. A proper court order will be observed by all schools. As I said below, there are sometimes problems if the order or parenting plan is not clear. Those are the situations where we have to go back for a short hearing. Recently, I even had to hold a hearing and get an order telling the school NOT to interpret court orders – the exact opposite of this situation. So you really never know until you see how the school reacts. But ultimately everything can be fixed with an additional court order.

  10. Ex was sworn in over phone due to living in different state. Proposed child sharing plan was not agreed to by judge. Judge changed parenting plan to say exhibit 2, wrote what she felt was in best interest of children and initialed the change. Ex is now picking and choosing from original proposed plan stating that’s what he agreed to. Can he do that??

      • Thank you. One more question. Holidays were orally agreed to and ex got every other holiday. This year is his Christmas and I have to meet him in SC. Ex is now going to proposed parenting plan which judge didn’t agree with stating he gets the entire winter break. If ex keeps children for 2 weeks instead of 1 week I physically cant be in SC on the date he says he is dropping them off. Ive tried talking to him but he says hes keeping them and now I don’t know what to do. This was orally agreed to by him and judge but not in writing. Can he choose to pick what the original proposed plan was which stated entire winter break?

  11. I work a 24 hour shift the days I am off I have my daughter. She is with me my first day and night and the following day until 530. This works out to be 50/50. The state only recognizes overnights. Is there a provision or statue that accommodates an abnormal schedule?

    • Yes, there are exceptions. But those exceptions are not clearly defined in statute. An attorney must argue for a certain interpretation of the law. We offer free consultations in all of our office locations.

  12. I have a client, I am a tax preparer/tax consultant, we have a tricky situation I cannot seem to fine the information I need to help her. Situation: There is a Separation Agreement. There is “Family Support” but is not broken down for “Spousal Support” and “Child Support”. Also, the non-custodial parent seems to get to claim the three children. The wife received $ 42,818 ($1992 every two weeks) , for March 1 – December 31, 2013.The wife had the three children, homeschooled them. She did not realize she needed to file a Form 8332 to give the exemptions to noncustodial father. She has not signed the form yet. This Separation Agreement will cause her to owe $4478.

    This is not fair that she has to pay the price for a detail like this, can anything be done? We live in Florida.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Unallocated family support is always a potential problem. There are definite situations where “unallocated” can help. But this does not appear to be one of them. This would probably have to go back to court. It is possible a relatively simple Motion for Clarification will remedy the situation.

      • Her husband is pushing hard for her to file either jointly or her to file MFS. In which case she loses. I asked her to get the Motion of Clarification. She is confused, scared and vulnerable. I told her I would file the extension so that we have time to get this straightened out. I feel for her. Is there anything else I can tell her to reassure her that the it will work out? I

        Another question – Is there a set amount in Florida for child support per child? Since there are three children, is there a calculation I can use that can give me an idea of what the separation of the support might look like. This may give her a bit of reassurance. My sister gets about $325 per month for her son, not sure that is appropriate, should be more. But is that a reasonable amount. What is child support actually suppose to cover each month?

        Thank you for your assistance. This is a great idea to help others. I might take this idea for my website. I really want to help others. This is amazingly helpful. Thanks.

        Shari Wolson
        The Tax Lady

  13. I have a parenting plan that currently gives me 90 days out of the year for time sharing. Recently the mother wanted a “break” because she told me she could not handle our child and gave me two months of custody where she was actually paying me support. The mother is Bi-Polar and has been sent to a mental hospital twice, once after the child was born. My lawyer told me it would be impossible to get that information into the court so nothing was ever done and I lost my relocation case. During this time, she found out she had cancer and has extended the “break”. Is there a time that if this child was to stay in my custody that the court would change the residency of the child to my state (I moved away from the childs’ home state) ? The child is 3.5 years old. Also, if a third party like a grandmother ends up taking care of the child more than the mother is that grounds for a change in custody/home state change?

    • Sounds like you already have grounds for a change in custody. Jurisdiction would remain in Florida as long as either parent still lives there. The mental hospital info – I disagree. It is difficult but a judge can enter an order allowing discovery of the information. You just have to convince the judge in a hearing.

      • Thanks for the quick response. Are you saying that because she handed him over for a “break” that is grounds for custody, or the mental hospital stuff? What about the third party watching the child. If it’s more than one or two times a week all the time, is that grounds for an unfit mother too?

        • Not any one thing by itself. But it sounds to me like it all adds up to sufficient grounds. Of course that is always a two sided argument.

  14. I have a parenting plan in place with my childs father,it is in the court order that no one ouside of myself him and our parents can pick my daughter up from school.He recently went to the school and added a person ,i have know idea who this person is,to her pick up list.He also consistently ignores my calls when he has our daughter,and i only call once to see how her day was ,in the order it stipulates whomever is exercising timesharing must allow the child to communicate with the other parent.What steps can i take to change or get the court to do something about his total disregard of the parenting plan ?

  15. I have an issue with my ex wife we where communicating fine until she decided to tell me that our daughter got grounded when I had her for the weekend asked what she was doin let her know she was on my iPad told she wasn’t supposed to b on it when I took her home she got angry at me and when I told her that what happens at her house is her business not mine I haven’t seen my daughter for 5 weeks she says that my daughter according to her lawyer needs a room of her own can u please help thanks

    • A reading of your final judgement and parenting plan is required. You may have to go back to court in an enforcement hearing to address this issue.

  16. My kids father hasn’t seen them in 5 years. My husband is stationed in Japan and im having the hardest time getting him to write a letter of approval to alllow my sons to join my husband. I have sole custody of my kids not court ordered but by Florida law I was told I have sole custody. My kid father barely makes child support sometimes I receive as little as $40 every month. Im afraid to go to court for full custody but why do I have to ask someone who does so little and never visits my kids nor call for approval to relocate kids me and my husband have raised? Please help.

  17. You are great at answering everyones questions and concerns! I hope you can help me….my sons father once laid his hands on me. I always had to make him come see our child. Our child is now 17 months. after a family gathering for our sons baptism in October 2013…his family (mom and dad) decided to serve me with papers the day BEFORE CHRISTMAS for time share. I have photos from when his dad laid his hands on me, but the issue is that I never filed a police report. I am afraid of our child being over there over nights with him….I do need a lawyer A GOOD One bc i just found out as well that both of our lawyers are friends! he dad has to be on antidepressants and does not take them….he has a hot temper. I’m just so scared for our son…I mean maybe it’s the attachment…but i’m just aftraid of my sons safety there. what should i do….and the days he’s suppose to ave our child (temporary) for now…he doesn’t…I have him. he has excuses all the time. Wednesdays are strip clubs. Thursdays his new girlfriend and Friday….i didn’t get an excuse.. overnight starts soon…but honestly I rather go to trial than to have the THIRD MEDIATION! He’s only fighting for over nights so that his childsupport lowers.

  18. My stepfather (the only father in my life for the last 20+ years), passed away this week. We live in Florida but my stepdad will be buried in Michigan. My son’s father is refusing to make a timesharing change with me to allow us time to travel to Michigan to attend the burial and memorial events. He had drawn up at schedule where I would trade him the time he was going to be missing (4 days) and he would be given 9 days in exchange. Now, he has backed out of the trade because he is upset with me about other issues.

    Can I ask the court to allow the change? How do I do that? How long might it take. The funeral is in 2 weeks and we would have to make work, travel plans, etc.

  19. Hello Sir,

    My ex husband hasnt had a job since septermber last year. I know he is working UNDER THE TABLE. Because he is working in construction. He filed petion in 2012 to modify child support. Due to finances I have had 2 lawyers and recently started my case with state attorneys office. In between the transfer of the case from private practice to state attorney office, I failed to received court date and to attend a court date. i was not aware of. My ex was the one to notifiy me of failure to appear. What do I do? How can the state attorney help me now since this court was tried in family courts. And now he is starting child visitaiton modifation papers. any input.

    • Because of the lack of information it is difficult to give an answer. Usually it is not fatal to miss one hearing. But you cannot know the effect until you thoroughly read the court documents and orders.

  20. my ex has send my 7yr old n 5 yr old to tx with out my approval or concent i also came to find out reson of the trip is for them to be givend to my sister becouse the mother thinks she cant handle them no more she has try to kill her self fail. but my thing is that she refuse to let me see them sence oct. 2013 i still got there santa gives. as sad as it saunds.
    i really will like to know if i can go to texas and take them from my sister?

  21. currently have shared parenting, alternating wks. ex has now signed a lease outside of school district and enrolled the children in new schools. she has a criminal case (dui) pending which may result in a short incarceration period (3-7 days), no license, no job, no vehicle. She said because her address is used for school designation, she has the right to move and use that address for new school. because it is under 50 miles she can relocate wherever she likes. the teens do not wish to change schools and want to remain with me full time. do i have a chance in this to have them during the school year full time or must i follow the ex whereever as long as its under 50 miles?

    • I would disagree with your spouse. While the move does not violate the relocation statute, your spouse’s one-sided change of schools violates shared parenting principles. Plus the incarceration is obviously a concern. Part of this will depend on the language of your parenting plan / final judgment. You may be able to hold an emergency hearing depending on various factors.

  22. I have a question pertaining to my situation. I will try to minimize it as best as possible.
    Myself (mother), my 18 month old daughter and her father, completed our drawn out process in court in January 2014 and all documents were submitted and signed off by the judge. My child’s father is supposed to take her every Wednesday am- Thursday am and every other weekend. With his job, he works overnights, However, during the process of court, he informed both my attorney and his that he requested to his employer and was approved for those specific days off (wed&every other weekend visiting schedule was also at his request). Since before we had completed our case in court, he has not been following the schedule, hardly ever. Even days that are not his and that he does not have to work,I often ask him if he would like to take her and spend time with her and he never does nor ever asks me, but, a lot of times when I do ask him he will say things such as “why are you always trying to pawn her off to me”. Recently, I’ve been thinking I should take him back to court. Especially since, the other evening in a text message he told me “I hope you die”. I am concerned about his mental well being and it’s causing concern in .even about when my child is with him. I don’t believe he would ever do anything to hurt her, but, I don’t know. Any suggestions? Am I in the right or wrong?

    • You are in the right. He is supposed to step up the plate and be a good parent. He should also be following the parenting plan. There is a concept on parent plans called: “use it or lose it.” If he is not using his designated time, you should not be in the position of always being on standby. Child support may be based on a certain amount of his overnights and may change based on the reality. That together with the other stuff you mentioned provides adequate grounds to file for modification.

      • If I brought him back for a modification, wouldn’t it be a matter of “he said she said”? How would I even prove that he has not been sharing responsibility and following the schedule? I don’t have any proof except maybe some text messages.

  23. My ex husband got orders (military) to move to Colorado for a year and is the custodial parent to our 11 and 17yr old boys. My 17 yr old is freaking out because he does not want to move out of state for his last yr of school. And I can not afford to buy a place ticket and hotel to see them in Colorado because I am paying child support. I have every other weekend visitation rights. He just told me today, he will be moving in 3 weeks and will be sending me a letter to sign to let the kids go, and if I dont he will take me to court. I am heart broken and I dont know how to stop him. Even if he does take my kids, I cant afford to see them.

    • You may have an opportunity for a Motion to Restrict Relocation. It sounds like a poor decision to relocate a 17 yo in his last year of school.

  24. Hello. Last year, a long distance (she and children in Orlando, myself
    in Miami) parenting plan was done that we agreed to and signed. I
    represent myself pro se. Her lawyer told me he would take care of
    getting it filed and signed. The copy her lawyer sent me to approve
    left a very important element out (I believe he did it purposely)…that
    because she had denied me previous visitation, I would get the children
    the next two summers (2014-15) . He said no problem, he would fix it.
    Several emails to him went unanswered. Fast forward present day…I
    now live in Orlando. Ex has always been extremely difficult and
    whenever I don’t do everything she says, she keeps the kids from me. So
    I filed a motion to set mediation for a new parenting plan because of
    the substantial change (I now live in Orlando) and the judges assistant
    called to tell me that the last parenting plan was only filed and not
    signed by the judge and we couldn’t proceed until the other one is taken
    care of! Her lawyer simply told the court they are not ready to
    schedule mediation…a new parenting plan would not be in HER best
    interest cause that means I get a lot more time with the kids. How do I
    proceed? Would a Motion to Dismiss previous parenting plan be proper
    because it was not filed as agreed and there’s been a substantial change
    in circumstances? Any suggestions you could offer would be most
    appreciated. She will not comply unless she’s forced to. I have looked
    everywhere online to find a similar case, but no luck.

    • I assume the case never proceeded to the end? Sounds like you need to push the case to trial. A quick observation based on your comments – you are in over your head on this one.

  25. Im a mother of a 6yr old little girl. And im not married to her father we just live together. So my question is if he leaves the state with her. Is there anything I can do. Never been to court or anything like that. I work two jobs and he doesnt even have onr and hasnt for the last 7 years. What are my opinions. .. please help

  26. Greetings,
    I am writing concerning my current custody situation. My ex was allowed to leave by a Florida court with my then 1 year 11 month old 2 years ago. Since then, we have been in mediation and in court. I moved from the location where the case was originally filed approx two months later but still within Florida and continued to pursue a resolution. The magistrate allowed me to keep the case in Florida as the other parent would not show up to the mediations so it was transferred to the county that I currently reside. We were allowed to continue and the Magistrate in the current county maintained jurisdiction in Florida. The parenting plan was drafted but not settled earlier this month and now the other parent has obtained an attorney and is alleging that the child has separation issues backed by a psychologist. This is an attempt to modify the plan that was set by the Magistrate, as well as to contest jurisdiction. I was given three months of time in the summer with my three year old daughter and this would be the first time in almost two years since she’s been back to Florida. If there is a reason for the separation issues, it is because I was an instrumental and consistent part of our daughters life before they were allowed to move. I have visited our daughter twice since the relocation and we Skype consistently on Mon./Wed/Fri.. What recourse do I have to make sure that our daughter has ample access to both parents. The current time (Other Parent 280/ Myself 85). I am nervous.

    • Sounds like you may need to retain an independent psychological expert – appointed by the court. I think the problem with the existing psychologist is a possible conflict of interest. A treating psychologist cannot be a testifying psychologist. There is case law that backs that up. Also, the APA ethics code suggests the two roles are in conflict.

  27. I am a father trying to get custody of my son. I have a temporary custody hearing coming. I have heard that the judge will only grant me the minimum? Why? Can I get more than that?

    • Who says that?? Not true. The decision depends on the facts of your case. You have rights that are equal with the mother’s rights in your request for parenting time.

  28. I have a 13 year old his dad is allowed through a court order to get him for the entire summer. He doesn’t want to attend these visits and doesn’t return home until a week before the next school year. This does not provide me with adequate time to prepare him for the next school year. What are my options?

  29. I will give the most detail as i can.
    I am about to have to go through the legal problems with my ex. over my 2year old daughter.
    only problem i can think when she was born. i wsa 24 and she was 17. I have supported her entire life. her mother hasn’t worked a day in her life and has no car. she is staying with her step mom. now and would have to share a room with the child. the child favors me more but just a little its clear to see. it use to make her mother upset. I want shared custody. and equal visition. due to the hours i work 5am-12pm ive heard that would make things a little harder. If i were to quit my job of three years to find a different one with different hours. would this be possible? ive also read they have done studies that a young girl growing up needs her father more than her mother? is this true? I just want to be more than a weekend visitor in my childs life. please if there are any more details you need let me know.
    thank you for your time.

    • I think you want an answer that really requires a private consultation. I have not seen those studies but I am sure there is a study that supports every point of view. In the big picture – you certainly have a right to be more than a weekend visitor.

  30. At what age can a child have a say-so in their visitation? My SD is 15 and no longer whats to spend the whole summer and every 3 day weekend at her moms ( in another state). Thanks in Advance!

    • Theoretically at that age. But in practice, the preference of a child can not reach a judge’s ears. And even if it does, the child cannot decide to cut out the parenting time of the other parent.

  31. Hi, I have been divorced for 5 years, my ex got primary custody but of course that to her means that she owns the children. My kids were always so happy to come to my home, and were screaming and crying when I took them back to their mother. As time went on she made it more and more difficult for me to get the kids, even telling me to meet them at the park in her town but no one was there when I arrived. She had friend of the family ties with the previous judge who made the time sharing to be while the oldest child was in school, and then took $1300 a month in child support leaving me with barely enough to live on so the 50 mile round trip 20 times per month while the oldest was in school was in school was so far from impossible. But I did all I could, and always got the kids when they weren’t in school…I had HAVE had NO money to get another lawyer until Feb this year, she has not allowed me to see the kids in almost 3 years, now she is ignoring the court summons and I have been told I can ask for visitation enforcement but not primary custody. The kids now refuse to speak to me, and they used to BEG me to as the oldest would say “call a judge and say i can live with you”..heart breaking since fathers have no rights in the eyes of the court outside of supplying a home and clothes and food for the EX. Now I am being told that if she still refuses visitation all i can do is keep scraping for money to re hire a lawyer and repeat this process. My lawyer says I can’t even ask for primary custody, I have to just live with the Ex’s alienation of my children from me! I have remarried and my now wife has sold everything she owned to pay for this lawyer, she helped me navigate repairing my credit after the Ex destroyed it, and because of my now wife’s sacrifices we were able to buy a PERMANENT home, a 4 bedroom mobile home because the kids have been living all together in ONE bed room since the ex took off. She has moved in with 2 boyfriends and the back into the one bed room trailer with the kids again several times….why do I still have no rights when I am clearly the parent who is in the best interest of the children? The Ex chose to break up our family so she could be with her boyfriend, then the court allowed her to move to another county taking 2 of the 3 kids from the only home they had ever known…..Is there no hope? I love my kids, I have NEVER had any rights or say since the ex decided to take them away, I have court again Friday for “enforcement” but I know she will not show and she will ignore the order….my kids are better off with me, what is wrong with this system? My lawyer says I can’t ask for primary custody and the judge will not be hearing from me, only my lawyer, what can I do??? I now have a home with a room for each kid, I have been at my job for over 8 years, my kids LOVED my wife before their mother started denying the visitation and brainwashed them against us, and my wife loves the kids like they were her own. We have been upstanding citizens and devote everything to giving the best life we can to the children…..the Ex has not accomplished anything in 5 years, she still has the kids in the one bedroom trailer when they aren’t living with a current boyfriend. She makes the kids call me by my first name, she makes them call her boyfriends “dad”, she called them when they were with me and had them crying and saying that it makes mom made when they say they want to see dad??? What can I do? I have been destroyed and now my kids are being destroyed too…and she’s getting away with this??

    • Obviously there is a lot going on here. I am sorry the system has treated you so harshly. It is difficult to understand what is going on. Normally it is a huge mistake not to appear in an enforcement hearing. In most courts the judge would suspend her parenting time. Sorry, there is not enough here for me to properly comment.

  32. Hi there, I have been divorce for more then 7 years, my self and my ex had a daughter together 2008, since 2010 my ex has not let me see my daughter, talk to her and not have any form of contact with my daughter. Although i moved from the USA back to the UK in 2009, the Florida State Family Law, Specifically states that neither part shall conceil the whether abouts to each other of their child/s, or deny form of contact from either parent, even when one parent is out of the country.

    Surely this means that my ex wife is in breech of the law and can be held in contemp? What can i do about this?

    • Idealy you would go through the court from which the case was filed with, to inform the courts of your moving. However, if not then yes your ex can take you to court for this.

      Did you file with the court of your moving? If not i think that can be seen as incontempt of the state law. Even if you had told your ex husband about the move to which he originally was ok with.

    • You have not violated the relocation statute – so you are definitely not in contempt of your court order. That applies to the child and the majority parent. You need to file a Motion for Contempt in the court where you got your original decree. Of course your exact rights are contained in the original order.

          • What do i do then? file a motion of contemp against my ex wife at the court that the child support was originally filed with.. ie Clay County in Greencove Springs? .. What would then happen to the ex wife once i filed the motion of contemp? would she be arrested for it? Also do you know what the cost is for filing the motion of contempt?

  33. Hi. I have been divorced for almost 8 years. Four years ago I was without a job and my ex was not paying support. I was offered a fabulous job about 2 hours away, but out of the original “judicial circuit” My ex was fine with my move, he helped me move furniture, brought house warming gifts etc. I facilitate visitation whenever he wants to see the child and drive 1/2 way to meet. The child is thriving academically and socially, and is involved in many activities.
    Now, 4 years later my ex is threatening to take me to court for moving out of the judicial circuit. No change of venue was ever asked for or entered. Is it possible that the court would make me move back to a town with no job and no opportunity?

    • Idealy you would go through the court from which the case was filed with, to inform the courts of your moving. However, if not then yes your ex can take you to court for this.

      Did you file with the court of your moving? If not i think that can be seen as incontempt of the state law. Even if you had told your ex husband about the move to which he originally was ok with.

    • I doubt that is a realistic possibility. You did technically violate the relocation statute. But the circumstances suggest his “implied consent” to your move.

  34. I live in florida and have equal custody of my three children. Am I allowed to go out of state on vacation with the children or do I need the other parents consent of it’s on my allowed time with the children?

    • Normally if the vacation is contained within your allowed time – you are ok to travel. You should let the other parent know where you will be and some basic contact info. Have a good time !

  35. I need legal advice. My daughter left home, left her children with me, in which all of them has always lived with me including herself. I need to know if I can adopt kids if she signs them over to me. There is no dads signatures on any of the birth certificates. Ages are, 6 years, 2 1/2 years, 10 months.

  36. I don’t agree with the time sharing plan at all. the magistrate says I have to ASK PERMISSION to move out of town with my daughter although my husband is in the military, the child’s father lives across the country and doesn’t even pay his child support! I find it so stupid for me to have to ask anything. The orders are all in Florida. I really think he only took me to court so that if anything goes wrong on my end of the time sharing plan he can try to get me into trouble maybe to make himself look good, as if it changes the fact that he doesn’t help at all with our daughter. I do not want any over nights in the time sharing plan because when he has her he just drops her off with his relatives, and I can keep my own child. But the stupid magistrate would not listen to me. I don’t know what to do because I feel as if I can do whatever I want to do with my child I’ve been raising alone all of these years and I never keep her from him, I just don’t want any over nights.

      • true! is there any way possible to change a time sharing plan? especially with us being military and nobody on either side has lived in Florida for a while.. thank you so much for your feedback it is very much appreciated and needed! a burden is being lifted.

        • I have been in the EXACT same situation. My ex hasn’t cared about seeing my daughter at all. But when I wanted to move because my husband is also in the military I had to “ask” permission. It has been over a year and a half since I was granted relocation and my ex has yet to even try to get my daughter for his visitation time. He wanted Christmas, Summer, and Spring break (keep in mind hes has never had her more than one night) and he has cancelled out on 2 summers, a spring break, and Christmas and hasn’t seen her since the day we relocated. I don’t feel he should have any rights anymore because he hasn’t even made hardly any attempts in calling her or seeing her. Not to mention he is a career criminal.

          • its a shame! I really want to get all of the orders transferred to the state I live in because I am here permanently and neither one of us live in Florida anymore. Florida doesn’t care about anything pertaining to the well being of a child until something horrible happens. it takes them months to even respond.

  37. I am a mother of a 3 year old and 4 year old. I have never been married to their father. After both deliveries their father has left them and disappeared. Back in the past I had given their father 2 chances to be in their life but he didn’t want the responsibility. Now it has been 2 & 1/2 years and he hasn’t tried to see them, called or texted them, sent any toys, or even a card for the holidays. He is (13,000) behind in child support. Had a warrant out for him for contempt of court. He has moved from state to state without contacting me or the girls. His Passport suspended. Now after 2 & 1/2 years he decides to text me and tell me he turned himself in and now and have a good paying job. (I feel he has only contacted me because he face was put out as a deadbeat online). He even had the nerve to ask if I was receiving the child support (like he set it up at his job). A friend of mine found out what state he had moved to and told me he had a job and I reported it to the child support office and child support office starting taking the money that way. Now after all these years he is coming at me a 3rd time asking to co-parent. The other 2 times I gave him the chance he did good for a couple months and then disappeared on my children for years. At this point, my kids dont even know he exist. My question is can I stop him from having visitation with them if there hasn’t been a court order? Can I file child abandonment? I dont know what to do, all I know is, I dont want to see my kids hurt.

    • I think you are within your rights to refuse visitation until he shows more information about “who he is” But eventually, if he persists, he will get some parenting time.

  38. My daughter has a 10 month old son and the father and her have 50/50 time sharing. My issue is that on Sunday July 6th, 2014 my daughter and 7 year old granddaughter both contracted food poisoning and was very sick until the next day. My grandsons father showed up with the police (Again) to pick up his son because my daughter was still too sick to drive to the place that the father has designated. Not what’s ordered in the court order. Because my daughter was sick, on Wednesday when my daughter went to the place for pic up of her son the father didn’t show up and has refused to give her the 10 month old back. It is now Saturday July 12th, 2014. She even went to his residence per her attorney to pick him up with the Police and the father refused to turn the baby over.
    What right does he have to keep the baby away from his mother because she was sick and was afraid to get behind the wheel of a car while still throwing up?

  39. 4 years ago my son’s father and I had a “time-sharing Agreement” written up after he filed for paternity. He has 3 other children by 2 other women. The agreement in place was very loosely written. In it it says that we have joint decision making and responsibility. It also says that I can relocate to another state. It says that any time not specified in the agreement that the child will be with me and the only time actually specified says that in the case that I relocate his father can have 2 weeks during the summer. I never relocated. Is that a “substantial change in circumstances.” His father has never called, sent a text or an e-mail, come by our house (which is the same one since my son’s birth), written a letter ect. requesting any sort of time sharing. In the original agreement his even agreed that is “I were unwilling or unable” to care for my son custody would go to my father then to my son’s father. My son’s father has never shown any interest in any of his children. He is over 60k behind in child support on his other 3 kids. The only involvement from that side of the family came from my son’s father’s mother. After she was both physically and verbally abusive to me in front of my son I stopped letting her be involved. A year later she and her son (my sons father) showed up at his school and took him without my knowledge. Anyway, after 4 year he is now filing to modify time sharing alleging that I have withheld the child. He has also called DCF of me and my current boyfriend several time alleging that I am on drugs and that there is domestic violence going on. They have several investigations and never found anything to substantiate their claims. I do not have a lawyer and the court case is in 3 weeks. They are requesting that my son’s primary residence be changed and that his father have full custody. Do I need to be concerned? What is the probability that they will award him custody? How do I best prepare for the trial without a lawyer? PLEASE HELP!!!

    • These are really big questions. Too big for this space. When we prepare for trial, the effort can take hundreds of hours. Hundreds of hours cannot be boiled down to a couple of sentences. Sorry.

  40. Is there a law in Florida requiring personal space for a child that goes to a parent’s house every other weekend? My daughter goes with her dad (who lives with his parents and part time with his girlfriend) but when she is with him he either sleeps in the same room as her or has her sleep in the same room as him and his girlfriend. He says he is “working on it” but he left when she was 6 months old and she is now 4 and a half.

  41. I am going pro-se on my divorce case. The only issue is time-sharing and child support amount for our 9 year old (Florida). We live about 15 minutes apart, in the same county, but not zoned for the same school. My husband wants equal time-sharing. This is coming from a man who is part of an internet terrorist group (I have evidence to present), who had an affair with a teenager (what ultimately led to our divorce, I also have evidence to present), and who I had to bring cops out to my house when I found a hidden video camera in my room after we split up (evidence is the police report but no arrest made). He’s not a horrible father but I don’t believe our daughter being with him 50% of the time is in her best interest. He has changed attorneys so many times that I couldn’t afford to keep paying mine so I ended up pro-se. Do you think the judge is likely to give him what he wants?

    • That is a pretty big question for a ten second answer. I doubt custody would be awarded to a terrorist. But I also doubt you can prove he is a terrorist. No negativity intended – just my two cents.

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