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Section 61.531, Florida Statutes

Expedited enforcement of child custody determination.—

(1)A petition under ss. 61.524-61.540 must be verified. Certified copies of all orders sought to be enforced and of any order confirming registration must be attached to the petition. A copy of a certified copy of an order may be attached instead of the original.

(2)A petition for enforcement of a child custody determination must state:

(a)Whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, specify the basis;

(b)Whether the determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court whose decision must be enforced under this part and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(c)Whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(d)The present physical address of the child and the respondent, if known;

(e)Whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorney’s fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officers and, if so, the relief sought; and

(f)If the child custody determination has been registered and confirmed under s. 61.528, the date and place of registration.

(3)Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall issue an order directing the respondent to appear in person with or without the child at a hearing and may enter any order necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child. The hearing must be held on the next judicial day after service of the order unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first judicial day possible. The court may extend the date of the hearing at the request of the petitioner.

(4)An order issued under subsection (3) must state the time and place of the hearing and advise the respondent that at the hearing the court will order that the petitioner may take immediate physical custody of the child and the payment of fees, costs, and expenses under s. 61.535 and may schedule a hearing to determine whether further relief is appropriate, unless the respondent appears and establishes that:

(a)The child custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under s. 61.528 and that:

1.The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under ss. 61.514-61.523;

2.The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under ss. 61.514-61.523; or

3.The respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of s. 61.509 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(b)The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under s. 61.528, but has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under ss. 61.514-61.523.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.522, Florida Statutes

Information to be submitted to the court.—

(1)Subject to Florida law providing for the confidentiality of procedures, addresses, and other identifying information in a child custody proceeding, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child’s present address or whereabouts, the places where the child has lived during the last 5 years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit must state whether the party:

(a)Has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the date of the child custody determination, if any;

(b)Knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding; and

(c)Knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

(2)If the information required by subsection (1) is not furnished, the court, upon motion of a party or its own motion, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

(3)If the declaration as to any of the items described in paragraphs (1)(a)-(c) is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and other matters pertinent to the court’s jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.

(4)Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceeding in this or any other state which could affect the current proceeding.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.520, Florida Statutes

Inconvenient forum.—

(1)A court of this state which has jurisdiction under this part to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon motion of a party, the court’s own motion, or request of another court.

(2)Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this state shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(a)Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(b)The length of time the child has resided outside this state;

(c)The distance between the court in this state and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(d)The relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(e)Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(f)The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including testimony of the child;

(g)The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(h)The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the pending litigation.

(3)If a court of this state determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

(4)A court of this state may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this part if a child custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

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.

Am I Required to Disclose My Finances in My Family Law Case?

Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires each party to a family law matter to disclose certain financial information to the other party.  Disclosure is strictly enforced in cases with money at issue, including child support, alimony, and equitable distribution or property division. Parties are required to follow Rule 12.285’s disclosure requirements in two ways: (i) providing a financial affidavit; and (ii) exchanging certain documents (also known as mandatory disclosure).

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How Does Divorce Affect A Child’s Future Relationships?

I just came across an article that discusses a study from Florida State University researchers about how divorce affects a child’s future relationships.  The researchers conclude that children of divorced parents are more likely to become divorced themselves for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that children learn relationship skills from their parents.  The article states the following:

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Facebook and Family Law: Be Careful What You Post

An article from Time Magazine recounts some horror stories and tales of caution emanating from the use of Facebook and other social networking sites.

A good general rule:  don’t post anything that you would be embarrassed to have your grandmother see.  This includes the following:

  • Don’t harass the other party;
  • Ensure that your friends are not harassing the other party;
  • Don’t post negative comments about the other party on your profile page, and ask others to avoid the same;

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Section 61.1825, Florida Statutes

State Case Registry.—

(1)The Department of Revenue or its agent shall operate and maintain a State Case Registry as provided by 42 U.S.C. s. 654A. The State Case Registry must contain records for:

(a)Each case in which services are being provided by the department as the state’s Title IV-D agency; and

(b)By October 1, 1998, each support order established or modified in the state on or after October 1, 1998, in which services are not being provided by the Title IV-D agency.The department shall maintain that part of the State Case Registry that includes support order information for Title IV-D cases on the department’s child support enforcement automated system. Read more

Section 61.13003

Court-ordered electronic communication between a parent and a child.—

(1)

(a)In connection with proceedings under this chapter, a court may order electronic communication between a parent and a child. Before ordering electronic communication, a court must consider: Read more

Section 61.125, Florida Statutes

Parenting coordination.—

(1)PURPOSE.—The purpose of parenting coordination is to provide a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process whereby a parenting coordinator assists the parents in creating or implementing a parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes between the parents by providing education, making recommendations, and, with the prior approval of the parents and the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the court’s order of referral.

(2)REFERRAL.—In any action in which a judgment or order has been sought or entered adopting, establishing, or modifying a parenting plan, except for a domestic violence proceeding under chapter 741, and upon agreement of the parties, the court’s own motion, or the motion of a party, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator and refer the parties to parenting coordination to assist in the resolution of disputes concerning their parenting plan. Read more