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.


* At this point nothing new in Florida child custody legislation will happen until the beginning of the 2015 legislative season.

 

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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  • Michelle

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Barbara

    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?

    • HowardIken

      Sorry for the delay. You would file a Motion for Contempt and call the judges office to schedule a 30 minute hearing

  • lovingfriend#1

    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.

    • HowardIken

      Yes, kids can always be taken on trips to visit family. The rest of this is very concerning. You may want to file for an injunction.

  • Cami

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Cami

    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 ….

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Cami

    What is the name and legal description of that law please and thank you

  • and68

    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.

  • Perez

    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?

    • HowardIken

      I doubt that can happen from your description of the facts.

  • jmac

    Is there a legal age a child can make their own decision whom they want to live with in Florida? I heard 16 is that correct?

    • HowardIken

      I child never has the final say so

  • CourtOrderSchool

    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

    • mstone

      http://www.fldoe.org/ese/pdf/1b-stats.pdf

      Statute 1003.29 – Page 67
      I think this answers your needs, Howard?

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • CourtOrderSchool

        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.

    • CourtOrderSchool

      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.

  • janeOdonel

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • MarcentGr

    If my “x” violates a parenting plan, then ignores a judge order for enforcement of the parenting plan, what is next?

    • HowardIken

      Motion for Contempt. Thirty minute hearing. All under the same case number and same judge.

  • stutt

    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??

    • HowardIken

      It sounds like the judge entered an order on that parenting plan. No, he cannot pick and choose.

      • stutt

        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?

        • HowardIken

          Prior oral agreements do not count.

  • firemedic226

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Shari Wolson

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • Shari Wolson

        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

  • John

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • john

        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?

        • HowardIken

          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.

  • Christina

    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 ?

    • HowardIken

      You must file a Motion for Contempt and schedule a court hearing. Everything will be under your original case number.

  • David del Sol

    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

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • jane

    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.

    • HowardIken

      Unfortunately his legal status as the father gives many powerful rights. Thats just the way it is.

  • lana

    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.

    • HowardIken

      What question can I answer?

  • Keisha

    How do I chang to sole custody from joint custody after divorce has been finalized?

    • HowardIken

      Not a simple answer. I would need to read the final order. But in general those types of changes are very difficult.

  • keri

    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.

    • HowardIken

      We could file an emergency motion. Short of that, it may be best to cater to him.

  • jess

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • http://batman-news.com Dwight Rodriguez

    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?

    • HowardIken

      You should be able to. But unfortunately, sometimes the police will want to see a child pickup order from a court.

  • bridget

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • bridget

        i have all the papers printed for modification of parenting plan, parental responsibility; but what would form(s) would i file to hold an emergency hearing (charlotte county 20th circuit)?

        • HowardIken

          Sorry but we can not specify specific forms.

  • Megan Miller

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • Megan Miller

        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.

        • HowardIken

          Text messages and possibly witnesses. It is different for every case.

  • CT

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • GoodDad

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • loving mom

    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

    • HowardIken

      You need to file a paternity case to define the rights and obligations for both of you. All bets are off until you get that done.

  • william

    Since florida changed things to time sharing can a father recieve 50/50 out of wed lock?

    • HowardIken

      Definitely yes.

  • michael

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Jacob

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Marie

    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?

  • joseph

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Michelle M Wilder

    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!

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • dads have no rights

    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??

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • MarkS

    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?

    • MarkS

      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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

      • MarkS

        That would mean, my ex wife in FL is incontemp of the FL State family law, yes?

        • HowardIken

          Sounds like she may be

          • MarkS

            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?

          • HowardIken

            These are questions best asked in a private consultation.

          • MarkS

            When is a good time to call?

          • HowardIken

            We are open during weekdays – business hours.

  • Cami R

    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?

    • MarkS

      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.

    • HowardIken

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

  • Jennifer

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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 !

  • worried in florida

    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.

    • HowardIken

      You can. But it is a formal, complex process that most likely will require an attorney.

      • worried in florida

        Will I have to involve the donors of the children?

        • HowardIken

          Not sure what that means.

  • No idea what to do

    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.

    • HowardIken

      If you violate a court order you run the risk of losing what rights you have.

      • No idea what to do

        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.

        • Been there

          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.

          • No idea what to do

            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.

        • HowardIken

          You have an excellent chance of getting a modification.

  • Please help

    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.

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Kathryn Stillman

    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?

    • HowardIken

      If there is a court order then her rights are enforceable.

  • Katie Laz

    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!!!

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Over It

    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.

    • HowardIken

      That does not sound good for a child. But there is no law that exactly spells out requirements.

  • cleopatra11

    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?

    • HowardIken

      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.

  • Nervous

    My ex is trying to change the parenting plan to 50/50 time sharing when its already set for every other weekend and everything else is as both parties agreed for our 5 and 11 year old, I admitted I kept them from him for a couple weekends because my kids were scared of his new live in girlfriend and would get upset and cry and were scared to go there. But I have since asked him to start working with them and they go to his house when he is off on his scheduled weekends and even asked him to watch them when it was my time sharing, but have still convinced him to allow them to stay with me when he works (over night) during his time sharing and he can get them the following day at until the end of his scheduled time. Would judges change a schedule for the kids when any thing against the agreement was due to their emotional and metal state, or is something we have agreed on for two years since it doesn’t state where they would be if he works during his time sharing?

    • HowardIken

      You never know about parenting plan modification cases. It depends on which judge, the relative skills of the attorneys, and your budget for developing a case.

      • Jessica

        I am currently going threw the same situation, my self and my daughters father were never married and separated since I was 5 months pregnant. I filed for Childsupport when she was 1 and when he got served got a lawyer and proceeded to try to gain full custody of her so he did not have to pay Childsupport. My daughter is now 8, the court ruled when she was 2 every other weekend visitation, wed nights, and half summers along with Childsupport. She has been living with me full time since u am the custodial parent has been in the same school since kindergarten, does great in school, has her own room/ space at home. Her father informed me he filed for 50/50 time share bc he cannot afford child support anymore which he lives 35 miles away, and my daughter already hates going and gets completely anxious and very sad when I force her to go. I am completely against this for the well being of her mentally and emotionally. Let me ad he is remarried has 4 other children ages 4 and under that are completely out of control, and my daughter does not have a room at her dad’s house, as it was taking from her so her uncle which is a drug addict and in and out of jail ” which is on his record” is now living in which was her room, and she is sharing a 10’10 room with her 1 year old sister… I am completely repulsed. Not only that my daughters father is never involved, nor does care bc his always working. I ask me daughter how her time with her dad was over the weekend and she tells me she never sees him he is always working so her ” step mom” is caring for her verses her spending time with her dad. What are my chances of having his request for 50/50 denied.

        • HowardIken

          It depends if you conduct your case properly, if you have an attorney, etc. If you do everything right – it will be very difficult for him to modify the parenting plan.

  • Todd

    How is mileage determined between cities for a parenting plan, is it actual miles driven or air (radial) miles?

    • HowardIken

      Good question. I will let you know as soon as I find out. There is no definite answer. But If I had to take a position, I would say driven miles. Then again, it depends which interpretation benefits my client.

      • Todd

        Thanks Howard! I have a 280 mile guideline. Guidelines do not state how mileage is determined, driven or radial. If they go with driven I lose out seeing my son regularly by 30 miles, if they utilize radial then things will remain as they are. I was hoping that the courts utilized a consistent method for determining this, radial, even though it works for me in this situation, is a more accurate method rather than driven mileage. You can deviate on the miles driven, radial mileage doesn’t change, it is what it is. Favorable or not, I look forward to your findings…thank you!

  • Confused

    I have a final judgment but my son’s father, we were never married, is not honoring it. ( He will not let me see or talk to my son). I need to file a motion for contempt but do not have the resources for an attorney. My father funded my last attorney which cost him over $24,000 and he is not in a position to fund another one. Will I have any chance with the court if I file a motion for contempt on my own? I don’t know what else to do. Mediation is out of the question because the last three we went to, before the final judgment, he simply got up and walked out in the middle of all three of them. He say’s ” No judge will make me follow any agreement.” The police only say it’s a civil matter contact your attorney. What good is a final judgment if one side does what he wants with impunity?

    • HowardIken

      There is no reason you cannot file your own Motion for Contempt. A Court should enforce the final judgment.

      • chris1776

        “Should” and “will” are two different concepts with some of the judges in the state of Florida. Many are power-hungry, corrupt politicians who do not care about kids, just keeping their docket clear.

  • Frustrated

    Hello, My situation if very similar to the ‘confused’ woman below. Except that I have spent over 100K in legal fees and the funds are depleting quickly. This was all part of the co-parents game plan as I was told prior to filing for divorce from an abusive situation. This summer the parenting plan calls for one week on and one week off. However, we have a parenting coordinator who works with us and signs off on our monthly schedules due to travel make up time for my co-parent. My co-parent consistently believes he is not given his ‘fair’ time and will not follow the parenting plan or the schedule of the parenting coordinator. Recently, on the day of transfer he informed me he was keeping our children for the remainder of the summer and fled over 300miles (still within the US). I will spend have spent one day with my children during the month of July and August. He will return them three days prior to school. I reviewed the Florida statutes and this would appear to qualify as a kidnapping (interfering with other co-parents timeshare, domestic violence-withholding children, and s/s of parenting alienation is being observed with my son via his therapist). However, this was told to me not to be deemed an ‘emergency’ motion because no immediate danger to children. To that end, a motion was filed and a court date in St. Johns County (only 2 judges in our county) has been set for November, 2014. My co-parent is a Narcissist and has also stated that he signed the parenting plan, but he has no intention of following it. This was after an almost 12 hour + mediation. Is this kidnapping? Can anything else more enforcing be done to deter this type of behaviour on his part as a preventative measure for the future. I feel like the approach I am taking is ‘weak’ and will only result in a ‘slap on the hand’. Also, the cost to me will be 10K, for which I will ask that he pay my fees. Meanwhile, I recognize this is NOT in the best interest of my children. The parenting plan is written in the best interest of the children, with one of the points being that they have the right and access to both of their parents. During the high conflict course they teach, child-focused plan. Where is the backing from the courts on this law they passed when they mandated implementing a parenting plan???? Please help me understand if there is something else I can do that I am not already doing???
    I do have faith, pray, and will never give up the work that I can do in the best interest of our children.
    Thanks!

    • HowardIken

      It sounds like you are being taken care of. No – there is no better way to do things. When you have a parent that wants to play games, and is very intelligent, sometimes it makes for a very difficult case. Have you discussed with your attorney the possibility of having a guardian ad litem appointed? Sometimes a GAL can bring out the truth more effectively.

  • Sonny

    My daughter has been victim to a sociopathic and predatory man for thirteen years. The father abducted my daughter’s babies when they were both under 20 months old (2001). My daughter has had a shared custody order since 2006. She has had no contact for three years now and just received word he moved to Colorado, from Pinellas Co., Florida. She has been through three attorneys in two states and this is never ending. My daughter called her (last) attorney and she (attorney) shunned her, money was all that mattered. My daughter has no money. She cannot file anything in court, (she has tried), because there is no address for the father and her two daughters, as he is hiding them. What can she file? Her children have been kidnapped! How does she find an attorney offering pro bono? Please Help

  • A lost mother

    I am goin throu a divorce. Papers where filed but that’s it. I am wanting to do time share but my ex doesn’t allow me to speak or even see my kids. So i left and moved 193miles away. Becouse being that close to them and not being able to see them or talk to them depressed me. I have another child who is two. That is not my husbonds we both have been apart for four years. I have not seen my kids. My kids have called me secritlly with out their father knowing. Until a last yr. He convesed me he changed and i moved back to recancile my marriage. But he had two other kids with his girlfriend. We all sit and talked. He let the girlfriend know that he was trying to be with me. But she ended up trying to kill her self. so he ended up staying with her. But in the two months that I was back the kids had lived with me for the day i came to town with his mother. I mean i was taking them to school, Feeding them i was being a mother again. And then he did it to me again. He said he was taking the kids out to eat. and never brought them back. I called dcf they didn’t do anything i tryed the police. I back at not being able to talk or see them againg. I had built a good life for me and my child in tx. Then i left everything to move to fl. to be with my kids. and now im starting my life over not being able to get my own place bc i pay child support and cant afford it. I Left a pomotion bc i was try to do right by my kids and my marraige. So i was told to file timeshare. But what’s to keep him from not doing what he wants. Which is noone is going to tell him what he going to do with his kids. So if he decieds he not going to let me see him. to make sure he does what the courts say with out me having to spend money that i don’t have i make mim wage. I don’t even have money to fight for full custody. Because attorneys what 3000. up front and don’t take payment plains. I had and attorney at first who agreed to take paymments but when child support hit me and i told him he dropped me because my 800 got cut to 400 he could keep me as a client. So he filed a with draw. What do to be apart of my kids life. Ive tryed being the bigger person. I don’t want to be around him i just want to rasie my kids and be a mother. What do i do with only and income of 400 a mnth. today is my daughters birthday.

  • http://batman-news.com HECTOR

    I live in Clearwater FL, I have two kids 7 and 10 years old, they live 10 min away from me, I have them every other weekend and every Tuesdays but also their school is right in front of my house so I use to go there and have lunch/visit them; my ex-wife is moving 106 miles away, I knew this at first because my 10 years old told me about the possibility of his mom wanted to move to Ocala and he was/is stress about moving, I questioned her about this a few time but she just told me “I do not know – I am not sure”… well me looking at my 10 years old and the 7 years old son stress just because not knowing what to do I told them whatever decision they made I will support them and I will see them every two weeks and if they stay with me they will see mom every two weeks. She moved last weekend, I already have the address where she moved but I got it on 07/28/14 by mail and the kids school 2 weeks ago. I just want to be clear that I do not agree with it, I am accepting it because I do not want the kids to be more stress so my question is: CAN I ATTACH A COMMUNICATION LETTER TO MY DIVORCE CASE WHERE I EXPLAIN ALL THIS SITUATION???? OR DO I HAVE TO FILE A CASE??? I just do not want her to think I am OK with this and I want to leave it in writing. Thank you!!!

    • HowardIken

      You must file a Motion for Contempt in the divorce case and hold a hearing. An attorney would be best for this. If you do not do anything you may sacrifice your rights. There is a statute that prohibits moves more than 50 miles without court permission.

  • Rachel

    Is there an emergency order to file for temporary custody until a trial is set? I have a 10 year old who is terrified to go to her fathers, DCF has been called (she had bruises and psychological scars), but they can’t with hold her since he has a court order for visitation. We have 50/50 currently.

    • HowardIken

      There is an emergency process. But there has to be significant evidence that an emergency actually exists. The decision is highly dependent on the way the judge looks at your request.

  • Kj

    What are some relatively good custody plans that involve infants and toddlers? I have a nine month old and a two year old. Right now we are using a 2-2-5 plan. It just breaks my heart to not see my children for five days in a row. Are there better options out there where we could both have 50/50 or should 50/50 be for when they are older?

    • HowardIken

      There is no one acceptable plan. The one you are using is very popular. The big problem: any plan you use rapidly becomes obsolete as your children get older. You do not have to strictly stick to a plan if the two of you agree to deviations.

  • Hurting4Her

    I’m pro se for financial reasons. My ex husband is fighting my Petition for Relocation out of state. He has not seen or had contact with our daughter in almost six years. Now that I petitioned for the change he wants monthly visits, rotating school breaks, half summer, and will not agree to receiving or delivering her to an airport at any time other than the 6:00 hour. on Fri and Sun. He also wants to enforce right of first refusal after 12 hours. My proposal was every other month Thur-Sun to coincide with the off days of school, 2/3 of each school break, and two two-week summer visits – obviously tons more time that he’s ever exercised. I’ve refused his and am waiting a trial date. Meanwhile he’s demanding counseling with her (they are there as I type this) and regular visits. She’s 15 and wants nothing to do with him. She feels she was hurt, got angry, and healed – her words – and the relationship is over. I also filed a Motion for Minor testimony. Thoughts?

    • HowardIken

      Most judges in the Sixth Circuit will not allow minor testimony. But there are always exceptions. If you can document that six year period it would seem your petition for relocation should be close to a no-brainer. Be sure to accurately follow the statutory requirements for a relocation case.

  • Teri

    Is it against the law for a father to take custody of his child at the time he separates from his wife and before any court orders have been made regarding custody?

    • HowardIken

      No. Both parents have equal parenting rights.

  • leo leo

    I don’t have a florida drivers license, so I cannot drive. Can this stop me from having my child ? does the law restrain fathers to transport child in public transportation?

    • HowardIken

      That will affect things. But I would say public transportation is ok.

  • Courtney

    I had my almost 4 year old son in October of 2010 his father signed the birth certificate was around for the first month and then left he doesn’t contact us nor does he try to even see him. His side of the family comes around to visit or so but he does not. He’s been through the court system for stealing from Kmart and drugs in and out of rehabs. Can I file emergency full custody and abandoment? I have the 5 dates over the course of 4 years that he’s seen my son. Ive tried everything I can for him to be a dad he chooses not too. I don’t want child support or anything from him I work full time and he’s in Pre-k this I have my own home soon to be husband and a second child to my son my husband is his daddy he doesn’t even know or remember his biological.

    • HowardIken

      You can file a Paternity case to establish child support and parenting schedules. But that is not the proper thing to do if you eventually want to terminate his rights and have your new spouse adopt. That is a bit more complex and will require an attorney.

  • Loving Parent

    I am currently going through a divorce and I am pro se. I have three minor children, 14, 12 and 10 and we have been following the temporary court order. What does the Florida law say in regards to allowing the children to decide whether to visit or not? Is there an age limit in Florida where they can decide who they wan to stay with, or do they have to follow the court order regardless?

    • HowardIken

      Follow the court order. The children cannot decide to withhold a visit.

      • Loving Parent

        Thanks for the feedback. Follow up question. Ok, I understand to follow the court order and I have tried. I have filed a motion of contempt against respondent. If I go over to pick the girls over for my awarded temporary time and the two (2) 14 and 12 refuse to come over, what are my options? Do I call the police and enforce the order? We have trial set for next month. I love them very very much, but they have been poisoned by the other party. I had heard that at a certain age in Florida, child(ren) can decide who they want to spend their time with. It just gets old trying to follow the temporary order, making plans, buying food in preparation for them coming over and then driving over to pick them up to then find out they don’t want to come over and the other parent does not force the issue. Just feel loss and sad. Thoughts or suggestions? Thank again for taking your time to help.

        • FlaGrl

          Wow this is so sad, however, not uncommon. There is a book that you should get….it’s called Divorce Poison. It deals with this exact issue “Parental Alienation”. It will tell you exactly what to do and how to go about it so that you don’t lose what is most important in all of this, your childs respect and confidence! Good luck to you!

        • HowardIken

          I would not involve the police. First, they will not get involved in enforcing a court order, and Second, it is really bad for the kids to see that kind of scene. Just keep requesting your time and be prepared to prove the other parent will not comply with the order.

  • FlaGrl

    I have been divorced since 2005 and at that time I was given child support for my 2 children based on my ex’s income, at that time. I was informed last month that I could modify my support if there was a significant change in my ex’s income. I hired an attorney, an expensive one (as if inexpensive one’s existed…hehe), to handle my modification. This is because I am clairvoyant and I knew that he would turn around and file for custody of our children. Low and behold, he is filing for custody of our children(Maybe I should get a TV show!). All kidding aside, I am sick over this. He is burdening our children with this issue and they are becoming stressed. He is also bribing them. Blatant bribery! My questions to you: Is it often that a judge takes a child/children away from their mother because a father does not want to pay child support? Do the kids have ANY say so and if so is there an age at which they do? I do not want to list any particulars on here bc he is a sneaky person and I haven’t a clue to how far he will go with this. He is one of those “I must WIN at all cost” kind of people. Although this is not a game, that is his mentality, which is so unfortunate because the only people who will truly suffer from all of this are HIS children. Thank you for your help.

    • HowardIken

      He must prove a “substantial change of circumstances” occurred that will justify a change in time sharing. That is normally difficult to show. Child support is a bit easier because an income change can satisfy the standard.

  • Kathy

    My daughter lives in Florida. She is not married however lives with her significant other. She has been with him and his son for 3 years before having a daughter. She has begged and pleaded with this man to go to counseling to no avail. He has just labeled her a Bitch. The unfortunate things are she has taken on his son and mothered him and loves him very much. She took on sharing all of his debt with bankruptcy, job, inconsistency of living arrangements just to mention a few pieces of the baggage. The fortunate thing for my daughter is that he is a good dad when he has time. Bottom line is she is miserable has been for the last 3 years but does not know what to do. She does not want a fight, explained this to him and he told her she better get a lawyer because his mommy and daddy will get him one. She is a bitch and he is going to end up hating her. She can’t afford to live on her own as she is applying for school to continue her education (with no help from him). She wants to move to Maryland but with a non fighting custody issue. She is willing for him to have the baby when possible, and is willing to do what she can to make sure this is adhered to. Does she have any rights to move?

    • HowardIken

      Until there is a court order in place she is allowed to move. The Florida relocation statute does not apply unless there was some type of court order in place. But she should be aware he may file a Paternity lawsuit and try to force the child back to Florida. At that point it will be up to the judge.

  • jason

    i have been given temp majority custody can this be reversed in final judgement?

    • HowardIken

      Temporary orders are always subject to change in a final judgment.

  • tracy

    Hi, I have a issue with my ex husband and he is trying to put rules of what goes on in my home while the kids are with me. I have a 14 yr dd, 13 yr dd, and soon to be 12 yr son and a 10 yr old dd. just recently my 14 yr daughter wants to stay home with him and not visit with me. My other children want to live with me. I live 3 hours away from them. We went to court to change parenting plan/time sharing but nothing was work out. I dont want my children to have to put up with what i had to put up with when we was married and he is treating our kids like he did me when we was married and when they come to visit me i always have to get lice out of their hair. I need help but i dont have alot of money but i do work.. Im so tired of not being able to see my kids or seeing my kids crying when they go home they had to hide the things i buy cause does not aloud them. can u help or guide me in the right way.

    • HowardIken

      Sorry but I can only answer short questions here. If you have some targeted questions I would be glad to answer them.