Hillsborough County – New Child Custody Proceedings Administrative Order

Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) recently entered a new administrative order that pertains to child custody proceedings.  Below is a summary of AO S-2011-014:

  1. For Chapter 751 Proceedings (Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family):
    1. Uncontested and Contested Proceedings:  Petitions for temporary custody of a minor child by an extended family member (i.e., grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.) must be written and signed under oath, and filed with the clerk of the court.  The case will be assigned to the Family Law/Domestic Relations Division.  An executed Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement (“UCCJEA”) Affidavit must be included with the petition.  If the petition is being filed with the parents’ permission, written, signed, and notarized consents must be provided, unless the parents provide their consents in open court.  If a petitioner is alleging that a parent has abandoned a child, the petitioner must have evidence of abandonment.
    2. Pending Dependency Proceedings:  If a dependency case is pending when a petition for temporary custody has been filed, the Family Law judge may transfer the petition to the Juvenile Dependency Division.
  2. Section 744.3021, Florida Statutes – Guardians of Minors
    1. A petition for guardianship of a minor under section 744.3021, Florida Statutes, must be filed with the clerk and assigned to the Probate, Guardianship, and Trust Division.  The petition must include a UCCJEA Affidavit.
    2. If a guardianship is granted, all procedures must be followed, including notice to all interested in parties and the setting of a hearing, prior to the termination of such a guardianship.
  3. Chapter 61 and Chapter 742 Proceedings- Dissolution of Marriage and Paternity:
    1. Cases involving divorce, paternity, and other related issues will be filed with the clerk of the court and heard in the Family Law/Domestic Relations Division of the Courthouse.  Further, the procedures outlined in Administrative Order S-2011-009 (or its successor administrative orders) must be observed.
  4. Notice of Related Cases
    1. The parties must make the court aware of any cases that exist involving the parties or the children.  For example, if you have a divorce case in Hillsborough County, but the parties were once involved in a domestic violence or child support enforcement case in Manatee County, you must notify the court of this.  You may do this by filing Family Law Form 12.900(h) – Notice of Related Cases.  The parties have an ongoing obligation to notify the court of other proceedings or cases.
  5. Change of Minor Child’s Residence:
    1. “A custodian or guardian must not, without prior approval, change the permanent residence of the minor child.  If a minor child whose custody arrangement has been granted by court order is moved to a new residence with court approval, the custodian must inform the court of the minor child’s new address in writing within 30 days after the move.  A custodian or guardian does not need prior court approval for a temporary change of residence for the purpose of schooling or holiday.”  [Quoted directly from administrative order].
  6. Notice of Change of Custodian’s or Guardian’s Contact Information
    1. If a custodian or guardian has his or her name, address, telephone number, or email address changed, the custodian or guardian must notify the clerk of the court in writing and include his or her court case number(s).
  7. Death of a Minor Child
    1. “Within 15 days of a minor child’s death, the custodian or guardian must apply for a certified copy of the minor child’s death certificate.  A certified copy of the minor child’s death certificate must be filed with the clerk immediately upon receipt.  If a certified copy of the minor child’s death certificate is not filed within 30 days of the minor child’s death, the custodian or guardian must file a notice with the clerk.”  [Quoted directly from the administrative order].
  8. Adoption of the Minor Child
    1. If temporary custody has been granted pursuant to chapter 751 or guardianship has been granted pursuant to chapter 744, the child subject to these proceedings may later become the subject of an adoption proceeding.  In such a case, the court handling the adoption must be made aware of the prior orders.  Further, the order granting temporary custody or guardianship must be terminated before or at the same time as an order granting adoption is entered.  If the original order of temporary custody or guardianship was from a court other than the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, than a notice of adoption must be filed with the circuit court which granted the original orders.

If you have questions regarding adoption, temporary custody of a minor child by an extended family member, or other issues raised in this summary, and you wish to schedule a consultation with an attorney practicing in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and beyond, call us at 813-443-0615 or fill out our contact form

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