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Father Flees Florida With Child; Faces Charges of Felony Interference With Custody of Child

News-Press.com out of Fort Meyers, Florida, is reporting that a father faces felony charges of interference with custody of a minor child after fleeing the state and hiding his child in Michigan.

The child’s father and mother had been divorced since May of 2010, and the father was exercising his regularly scheduled time-sharing with his child.  However, instead of returning the child to the mother at the end of his time-sharing schedule, the father simply left Florida without telling the mother where he or the child were going or when they would be back.  The Lee County Sheriff’s Office then obtained a warrant for the father’s arrest.

A charge of interference with custody of a minor child is based on section 787.03, Florida Statutes.  Below is the text of this statute:

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Modification of Child Support: Don’t Avoid Paying

It’s human nature to want to avoid unpleasant experiences.  That’s why there are so many cavities and income tax extension requests.  However, one thing that people should not avoid is paying court-ordered child support.

Not everyone follows this advice.  According to the Trumball Patch, one man faces two years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine, on top of the $175,000.00 he owes in back child support.  Apparently, his aversion to paying child support persisted since 1993.

If you have been ordered to pay child support, and there has been a substantial change in circumstances that has affected your ability to pay, in Florida you may have the option of seeking a modification of your child support order.

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Video: Professor Atwood Discusses Changes in Family Law Part 3

Barbara Atwood of the University of Arizona discusses how family law has changed in this video from Divorce TV:

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (known as the “UCCJEA”) is the body of law that provides Florida courts with authority to rule on issues of child custody.  In virtually every family law proceeding that involves child custody–including divorce, paternity, and relocation–each party is required to file an affidavit that contains certain information and demonstrates to the court that it has jurisdiction over the child. This UCCJEA affidavit must include the following information:

  • The current address of the child;
  • Each address at which the child has lived during the past five years;

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Section 61.538, Florida Statutes

Role of state attorney.—

(1)In a case arising under this part or involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the state attorney may take any lawful action, including resort to a proceeding under ss. 61.524-61.540 or any other available civil proceeding, to locate a child, obtain the return of a child, or enforce a child custody determination, if there is:

(a)An existing child custody determination;

(b)A request to do so from a court in a pending child custody proceeding;

(c)A reasonable belief that a criminal statute has been violated; or

(d)A reasonable belief that the child has been wrongfully removed or retained in violation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

(2)A state attorney acting under this section acts on behalf of the court and may not represent any party.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.542, Florida Statutes

Transitional provision.—

A motion or other request for relief made in a child custody proceeding or to enforce a child custody determination that was commenced before the effective date of this part is governed by the law in effect at the time the motion or other request was made.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.540, Florida Statutes

Costs and expenses.—

The court may assess against the nonprevailing party all direct expenses and costs incurred by the state attorney and law enforcement officers under s. 61.538 or s. 61.539 so long as the court has personal jurisdiction over the nonprevailing party.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.539, Florida Statutes

Role of law enforcement officers.—

At the request of a state attorney acting under s. 61.538, a law enforcement officer may take any lawful action reasonably necessary to locate a child or a party and assist a state attorney with responsibilities under s. 61.538.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.537, Florida Statutes

Appeals.—

An appeal may be taken from a final order in a proceeding under ss. 61.524-61.540 in accordance with expedited appellate procedures in other civil cases. Unless the court enters a temporary emergency order under s. 61.517, the enforcing court may not stay an order enforcing a child custody determination pending appeal.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.536, Florida Statutes

Recognition and enforcement.—

A court of this state shall accord full faith and credit to an order issued by another state and consistent with this part which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another state unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under ss. 61.514-61.523.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.