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Orlando Custody & Visitation Law Blog

Visitation rights for adoptive mother from same-sex relationship

A Florida adoptive mother has been granted access to her son after the Florida Supreme Court ruled in her favor. The woman adopted the boy after her female partner gave birth to him more than six years ago, but after the couple split, the birth mother cut off contact.

In 2012, a judge had approved the adoption request, but later that year the birth mother had asked a different judge to reverse the adoption. She was successful, but a higher court returned rights to the adoptive mother prior to the Florida Supreme Court ruling. Because the adoptive mother has not seen the boy for a year and a half, a therapist has been appointed for both mothers and for the boy to assist in the reunion.

What is a parenting plan?

Florida parents who are planning on divorcing may wish to know some information about what a parenting plan is and what specific information is required. The Florida Supreme Court has issued a guide that may help to clear up some of the important details that must be included in such a document.

When parents share joint physical custody of a child, Florida law requires that they have an appropriate plan in place. This applies even when there are no disputes between the parents over their time-sharing or other responsibilities. In cases where one parent is going to relocate with the child or the shared parenting time is to be supervised, special forms must be used. These are available through the Florida court system. In any case, the form must be filled out and either notarized or affirmed in the presence of the county clerk.

Establishing paternity for father's rights

Biological fathers deserve to be recognized as paternal fathers, and there are several ways that they can establish paternity in Florida. Until a man is established as the paternal father, he is often called the alleged father. A man becomes the paternal parent of a child when the child is born to his wife. If the mother and father are not married at the time of birth, they can sign an acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital or update the birth record later. A judge could also order paternity in court, while an administrative order for paternity may be filed after genetic testing.

To establish paternity through a court order, a judge reviews evidence of a man's paternity and decides whether paternity is established. The mother and alleged father must appear in court, and one of them may be ordered to pay for court costs and genetic testing if the judge orders a test.

Grandmother seeking reimbursement for child support

A grandmother in Florida is seeking reimbursement for more than $3,000 in child support that has been deducted from her pay for the support of a granddaughter born to her minor son. According to the woman and her attorney, state officials have said that child support should not be collected from grandparents even when the parent of the child is a minor.

One official explained in an email that while Florida law does permit grandparents to be named as a party to court action when the parent is a minor, they are not required to provide the support. The official says that an order has never been issued to deduct such support from grandparents. However, even after the father of the child turned 18, the support was still deducted. According to the grandmother, she was required to pay 65 percent to the 35 percent required by the mother.

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.

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