Section 61.508, Florida Statutes

Priority.—If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this part is raised in a child custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, must be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.507, Florida Statutes

Effect of child custody determination.—A child custody determination made by a court of this state which had jurisdiction under this part binds all persons who have been served in accordance with the laws of this state or notified in accordance with s. 61.509 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to those persons, the determination is conclusive as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the extent the determination is modified.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.506, Florida Statutes

International application of part.—

(1)A court of this state shall treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States for purposes of applying ss. 61.501-61.523.

(2)Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3), a child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this part must be recognized and enforced under ss. 61.524-61.540.

(3)A court of this state need not apply this part if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.505, Florida Statutes

Application to Indian tribes.—

(1)A child custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child, as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. ss. 1901 et seq., is not subject to this part to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

(2)A court of this state shall treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States for purposes of applying ss. 61.501-61.523.

(3)A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this part must be recognized and enforced under ss. 61.524-61.540.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.504, Florida Statutes

Proceedings governed by other law.—This part does not govern a proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.503, Florida Statutes

Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:

(1)“Abandoned” means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.

(2)“Child” means an individual who has not attained 18 years of age.

(3)“Child custody determination” means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, residential care, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual.

(4)“Child custody proceeding” means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, residential care, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under ss. 61.524-61.540.

(5)“Commencement” means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.

(6)“Court” means an entity authorized under the laws of a state to establish, enforce, or modify a child custody determination.

(7)“Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child younger than 6 months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.

(8)“Initial determination” means the first child custody determination concerning a particular child.

(9)“Issuing court” means the court that makes a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this part.

(10)“Issuing state” means the state in which a child custody determination is made.

(11)“Modification” means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, regardless of whether it is made by the court that made the previous determination.

(12)“Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, or government; governmental subdivision, agency, instrumentality, or public corporation; or any other legal or commercial entity.

(13)“Person acting as a parent” means a person, other than a parent, who:

(a)Has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of 6 consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within 1 year immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and

(b)Has been awarded a child-custody determination by a court or claims a right to a child-custody determination under the laws of this state.

(14)“Physical custody” means the physical care and supervision of a child.

(15)“State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(16)“Tribe” means an Indian tribe, or band, or Alaskan Native village that is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

(17)“Warrant” means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.502, Florida Statutes

Purposes of part; construction of provisions.—The general purposes of this part are to:

(1)Avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody which have in the past resulted in the shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being.

(2)Promote cooperation with the courts of other states to the end that a custody decree is rendered in the state that can best decide the case in the interest of the child.

(3)Discourage the use of the interstate system for continuing controversies over child custody.

(4)Deter abductions.

(5)Avoid relitigating the custody decisions of other states in this state.

(6)Facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states.

(7)Promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual assistance between the courts of this state and those of other states concerned with the same child.

(8)Make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this part among the states enacting it.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.501, Florida Statutes

Short title.—This part may be cited as the “Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.”

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Downward Modification of Alimony: What is a “Supportive Relationship?”

Section 61.14, Florida Statutes, contains a provision that allows a court to modify or terminate an order for alimony if the obligee (the person receiving alimony) is in a “supportive relationship.” So what is a supportive relationship?

Downward Modification of Alimony

What is a "supportive relationship?"

Fortunately, the statute provides guidelines to identify such a relationship.  Considerations include the following:

  • Whether and the extent to which the obligee and other person have acted as husband and wife, such as by referring to one another as spouses;
  • Whether the obligee and other person have used the same last name;

Read more

Do I Need to Purchase Life Insurance to Secure My Child Support Obligation?

Under section 61.13(1)(c), Florida Statutes, a judge may require a party to purchase life insurance to cover his or her child support obligation in the event of a tragedy.  However, an order to purchase life insurance is discretionary and will depend on the specific facts in your case.

To help you determine whether you will likely be required to purchase life insurance to secure your obligation, you should consult with a family law attorney.