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Orlando Custody & Visitation Law Blog

Florida grandmother ordered to pay child support for grandchild

A grandmother in Florida wants answers for why child support for her son's daughter was withheld from her wages. The woman received a court order in July 2013 saying that she was responsible for child support when her son was 17, but deductions from her paycheck continued after her son turned 18. There is no statute requiring child support from the grandparent of a child, and the woman wants her money back and wishes to know why she was charged.

The 41-year-old Avon Park woman had to pay $1,690 in 2013 and $1,964 in 2014 for her son's daughter. She also paid retroactive child support from when her granddaughter was born in December 2012. A Department of Revenue staff member told the woman and a community advocate that there was no legal paperwork about the withholdings from her paycheck and that the deductions would be stopped immediately.

Using social media as evidence in child support cases

Florida residents may be interested in an article describing one way that law enforcement has been gathering evidence of "deadbeat" parents. This evidence can often be used to bring charges against parents who do not honor their child support obligations.

When a parent is ordered to pay child support, they have a legal obligation to do so. Failure to pay does not rise to the level of a criminal offense if the person's financial situation genuinely leaves them unable to make the payments. However, if a parent is able to make payments and does not pay for at least four months, criminal action could be taken against them. Now, government authorities tasked with enforcing these rules are using social media as a weapon against these delinquent parents.

Florida woman faces perjury charges in child custody case

On July 9, a 25-year-old Brooksville woman pleaded guilty to accusations of perjury in Sebastian County Circuit Court. The case was prompted by a child custody battle when the woman allegedly used falsified emails and Facebook conversations to accuse her former husband of harassment. The fake evidence was presented the day before her Jan. 28 custody hearing, and the mother was soon granted custody of her daughter.

However, in one Facebook exchange, police noticed one line of dialogue was accidentally attributed to the wrong spouse, as though the woman forgot to change names. Upon further investigation, a Fort Smith detective reportedly discovered that the threatening messages were all made from a single computer, which was tracked to Brooksville. By issuing a subpoena to Time Warner Cable and obtaining records of the woman's Internet activity, the police determined that she owned the source computer.

Paul George wants Florida hearing for custody case

NBA All Star Paul George wants a custody hearing moved to Florida and plans to ask for sole custody if a paternity test shows a baby girl born on May 1 is his. The Indiana Pacers player wants the trial in Florida because he met the mother of the child there, but a judge has yet to determine jurisdiction.

George's petition for custody alleges that the child's mother is unemployed, dependent on others for the child's care and does not have the same resources as George. The mother claims that George's travel schedule will be a detriment to the child's care.

Custody and unmarried fathers

A Florida father has spoken out regarding the legal battle for his daughter. He claims that when his girlfriend became pregnant, they moved into his parents' home. Two months before her due date, the mother reportedly and unexpectedly moved out; she cited ongoing disagreements between the pair.

Just two days later, an adoption agency called the man. They reportedly informed him that the mom had given up her rights to the child and wanted him to do the same. Despite the man's reported insistence otherwise, the agency said he did not have any legal rights to his daughter.

Florida mother allegedly kidnaps 2-year-old daughter

It was reported on June 16 that a 22-year-old Florida woman allegedly kidnapped her 2-year-old daughter. According to the report, the woman left a note to her father claiming that she took the child because she did not want to have her daughter to be vaccinated or sent to preschool. The couple never married and are now separated. They reportedly agreed to a joint custody situation in April.

The father of the child claimed that the mother did not want their daughter to attend preschool because she would learn about black history. The woman's parents told authorities that their daughter had gotten involved with a Confederate enthusiast prior to vanishing with the child. They have reportedly not been seen since May 6. The authorities are said to have attempted contact with the enthusiast but have been unable to reach him.

Halle Berry to pay nearly $200,000 per year in child support

Florida fans of actress Halle Berry may be aware that she has been back in court negotiating child support with her ex-boyfriend, the father of her 6-year-old daughter. Since their relationship ended, Berry has married and now has an 8-month-old son.

In 2012, Berry and her model ex-boyfriend were in court over custody issues when a judge ruled that the actress could not move the child with her to France. More recently, she has been ordered to pay $16,000 per month in child support.

Man in jail for owing $452,000 in support

Media sources indicate that police have taken a 51-year-old Florida man who operates a business into custody for failing to keep current on his spousal and child support payments. The report indicated that the Ocala man is facing charges for delinquent payments totaling $452,000 to his ex-wife who lives in Tuxedo, New York, with their children.

The man appeared in the Orange County Family Court in New York on May 22 for a charge of failing to pay an amount of more than $450,000 in support payments. In Westchester County, New York, he faces separate charges in a federal case for failing to pay child support in the amount of almost $160,000. He was booked into a jail in Orange County, New York, on bail of $25,000. Officials said that at the time when the payments should have been made, the businessman and his present spouse were working on developing property that they had purchased in Florida.

After 5 years, mother and daughter reunited

On Mother's Day, a Florida woman posted a plea on Facebook intended for her 12-year-old daughter, who was abducted by her father five years earlier. The post stated that the mother hoped they would one day find each other and asked the girl to reach out to her mother. Amazingly, later that day, someone contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with a tip that the missing girl and her father lived in Hidalgo, Mexico.

A court originally awarded custody to the girl's mother, and her father had visitation rights on weekends. In August 2009, the father picked his daughter up for a weekend visit and vanished. Police issued a warrant for his arrest for interference with custody and began the search. Every two years, computer-aged photographs were released showing what the girl might look like. Through it all, the mother held out hope that her daughter would one day be returned. It was that hope that lead to posting the Facebook message.

Men finding their voices in family court

Florida residents may have heard the common belief that family courts are skewed to favor the mother in child custody cases. However, that perception is not entirely accurate. A couple of recent high-profile cases show that some courts are increasingly willing to support fathers' rights.

Actor Jason Patric went back to court to protect his rights to a child he had with his former girlfriend through in vitro fertilization. Under the law of his state, a sperm donor has no parental rights because they were not married at the time of conception. A judge initially denied his request for custody, but Patric vowed to fight as long as it takes to get to see his child. Olympic skier Bode Miller challenged a woman's right to move to New York with his child without his consent. A group of fathers in Utah recently sued to challenge a state law that allows a mother to put a child up for adoption without the father's permission. These men have become heroes for the fathers' rights movement.

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