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Section 61.528, Florida Statutes

Registration of child custody determination.—

(1)A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this state, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the circuit court of the county where the petitioner or respondent resides or where a simultaneous request for enforcement is sought:

(a)A letter or other document requesting registration;

(b)Two copies, including one certified copy, of the determination sought to be registered and a statement under penalty of perjury that, to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person seeking registration, the order has not been modified; and

(c)Except as otherwise provided in s. 61.522, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered.

(2)On receipt of the documents required by subsection (1), the registering court shall:

(a)Cause the determination to be filed as a foreign judgment, together with one copy of any accompanying documents and information, regardless of their form; and

(b)Serve notice upon the persons named pursuant to paragraph (1)(c) and provide them with an opportunity to contest the registration in accordance with this section.

(3)The notice required by paragraph (2)(b) must state that:

(a)A registered determination is enforceable as of the date of the registration in the same manner as a determination issued by a court of this state;

(b)A hearing to contest the validity of the registered determination must be requested within 20 days after service of notice; and

(c)Failure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.

(4)A person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order must request a hearing within 20 days after service of the notice. At that hearing, the court shall confirm the registered order unless the person contesting registration establishes that:

(a)The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under ss. 61.514-61.523;

(b)The child custody determination sought to be registered has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under ss. 61.514-61.523; or

(c)The person contesting registration 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 registration is sought.

(5)If a timely request for a hearing to contest the validity of the registration is not made, the registration is confirmed as a matter of law and the person requesting registration and all persons served must be notified of the confirmation.

(6)Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted at the time of registration.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.527, Florida Statutes

Temporary visitation.—

(1)A court of this state which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination may issue a temporary order enforcing:

(a)A visitation schedule made by a court of another state; or

(b)The visitation provisions of a child custody determination of another state which does not provide for a specific visitation schedule.

(2)If a court of this state makes an order under paragraph (1)(b), it shall specify in the order a period that it considers adequate to allow the petitioner to obtain an order from a court having jurisdiction under the criteria specified in ss. 61.514-61.523. The order remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other court or the period expires.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.526, Florida Statutes

Duty to enforce.—

(1)A court of this state shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with this part or the determination was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of this part and the determination has not been modified in accordance with this part.

(2)A court of this state may use any remedy available under other laws of this state to enforce a child custody determination made by a court of another state. The remedies provided by ss. 61.524-61.540 are cumulative and do not affect the availability of other remedies to enforce a child custody determination.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.525, Florida Statutes

Enforcement under the Hague Convention.—

Under this part, a court of this state may enforce an order for the return of a child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as if it were a child custody determination.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.524, Florida Statutes

Definitions.—

As used in ss. 61.524-61.540, the term:

(1)“Petitioner” means a person who seeks enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child custody determination.

(2)“Respondent” means a person against whom a proceeding has been commenced for enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or enforcement of a child custody determination.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

Section 61.523, Florida Statutes

Appearance of parties and child.—

(1)In a child custody proceeding in this state, the court may order a party to the proceeding who is in this state to appear before the court in person with or without the child. The court may order any person who is in this state and who has physical custody or control of the child to appear in person with the child.

(2)If a party to a child custody proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this state, the court may order that a notice given pursuant to s. 61.509 include a statement directing the party to appear in person with or without the child and informing the party that failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to the party.

(3)The court may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the child and of any person ordered to appear under this section.

(4)If a party to a child custody proceeding who is outside this state is directed to appear under subsection (2) or desires to appear in person before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses of the party so appearing and of the child.

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 61.521, Florida Statutes

Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.—

(1)Except as otherwise provided in s. 61.517 or by other law of this state, if a court of this state has jurisdiction under this part because a person seeking to invoke its jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court shall decline to exercise its jurisdiction unless:

(a)The parents and all persons acting as parents have acquiesced in the exercise of jurisdiction;

(b)A court of the state otherwise having jurisdiction under ss. 61.514-61.516 determines that this state is a more appropriate forum under s. 61.520; or

(c)No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in ss. 61.514-61.516.

(2)If a court of this state declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection (1), it may fashion an appropriate remedy to ensure the safety of the child and prevent a repetition of the unjustifiable conduct, including staying the proceeding until a child custody proceeding is commenced in a court having jurisdiction under ss. 61.514-61.516.

(3)If a court dismisses a petition or stays a proceeding because it declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection (1), it shall assess against the party seeking to invoke its jurisdiction necessary and reasonable expenses, including costs, communication expenses, attorney’s fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and expenses for child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees are sought establishes that the assessment would be clearly inappropriate. The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against this state unless authorized by law other than this part.

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 61.519, Florida Statutes

Simultaneous proceedings.—

(1)Except as otherwise provided in s. 61.517, a court of this state may not exercise its jurisdiction under ss. 61.514-61.524 if, at the time of the commencement of the proceeding, a proceeding concerning the custody of the child had been commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this part, unless the proceeding has been terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this state is a more convenient forum under s. 61.520.

(2)Except as otherwise provided in s. 61.517, a court of this state, before hearing a child custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information supplied by the parties pursuant to s. 61.522. If the court determines that a child custody proceeding was previously commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this part, the court of this state shall stay its proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this part does not determine that the court of this state is a more appropriate forum, the court of this state shall dismiss the proceeding.

(3)In a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a court of this state shall determine whether a proceeding to enforce the determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may:

(a)Stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying, or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement;

(b)Enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement; or

(c)Proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.