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Can I Adopt My Grandchild in Florida?

Do you have a grandchild or other close relative living with you? Do you want to ensure that you have the legal ability to make healthcare, education, and other major decisions for the child? Do you want to legally establish the close relationship that already exists between you and the child?

You may be eligible to adopt your grandchild or other close relative, and fortunately, Florida has expedited procedures in place to facilitate such adoptions.

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Disparaging The Other Parent Hurts Your Child And Your Florida Child Custody Case

Rosalind Sedacca, a divorce and parenting coach and author, writes about why parents should not bash one another in front of their children:

When you put down their other parent, your children are likely to interpret it as a put-down of part of them. When both parents are guilty of this behavior, it can create a great confusion along with a sense of unworthiness and low self-esteem. “Something’s wrong with me” becomes the child’s unconscious belief.

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Can Smoking Affect Your Child Custody Case?

As a former cigarette smoker, an article in the Washington Times regarding smoking and child custody piqued my interest. Below is an excerpt:

States are increasingly factoring in cigarette smoking in making decisions about who gets custody of minor children. The group Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-tobacco advocacy group, surveyed custody issues involving cigarettes and tobacco use.

  • In at least 18 states, courts have ruled that subjecting a child to tobacco smoke is a factor which should be considered in deciding custody.
  • No judge and no court has ever ruled that subjecting a child to tobacco smoke should be ignored in deciding custody.
  • In thousands of cases, courts have issued orders prohibiting smoking in the presence of a child, especially in vehicles.

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Garon: 8 Tips for Co-Parenting During the Holidays

Winter break can be one of the most difficult times for both children and parents to cope with divorce.  We see Christmas and New Years cheer and celebration everywhere as we are dealing with our own internal and external stressors that make the mere sight of such images so painful.  However, we must dedicate all of our strength to keep this period of time as happy and stable as possible for our children.

Risa Garon, a licensed clinical social worker, collaborative law mental health professional, and Executive Director of the National Family Resiliency Center, Inc., provides tips for co-parenting during the holidays:

  1. What can you as a parent handle? Be honest with yourself and how you feel.
  2. Be honest with your children about your limitations and what you can handle. Approach them in a way that doesn’t burden them with your feelings. Ask them what would help them during the holidays.
  3. Recognize that rituals are symbolic and often treasured by children and adults. If possible, try to have some of your family’s traditional rituals and include your children in creating new ones. Read more

Factors in Relocating with a Child

If you are or have been involved in a child custody case and you wish to move with your child, you must make sure to follow the procedures of section 61.13001, Florida Statutes (the “Relocation Statute”).

Often times, parents are able to come to an agreement on relocation.  The Relocation Statute has specific requirements for the agreement, and the agreement must be filed with the court and ratified by a judge.

But what if you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement?  What specific factors does a judge look at to determine if relocation is in a child’s best interests?

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Pew Report Observes Non-Resident Fathers

A recent report conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographics Trends project makes some interesting findings:

  • “Absent” or “non-resident” fathers are defined as those that do no live with their children;
  • The number of children not living with their father has doubled from 1960 to 2010;
  • Four in ten non-resident fathers communicate with their children several times a week, while one in five spend time with their children more than once a week;
  • One in three non-resident fathers report that they talk or exchange e-mail with their children less than once a month; and
  • Twenty-seven percent of absent fathers say they have not seen the children at all in the past year.

In Florida, generally speaking, each parent has a right to spend time with his or her children, and each parent has a responsibility to contribute financially to the child’s support.  If there is a court order pertaining to child custody, these rights and responsibilities can usually be enforced by contempt.

If you have questions regarding paternity or child custody and you wish to speak with a Florida family law lawyer, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our online form.

Relocation With A Child Outside of Florida

If your child has ever been subject to a custody proceeding (such as divorce, paternity, or temporary custody), then you are likely restricted in where you can move with the child under section 61.13001, Florida Statutes.  This law, known as the “Relocation Statute,” prevents a parent from moving a child more than 50 miles except under certain circumstances.

The first circumstance allowing relocation is if both parents agree.  However, strict requirements must be followed.  The agreement must:

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Concurrent Custody vs. Temporary Custody

I recently wrote a post explaining temporary custody by an extended family member, a type of action which allows parents to temporarily transfer their custody rights to a relative.  Once a judge grants a petition for temporary custody, the relative temporarily assumes the parents’ right to make decisions concerning the child’s healthcare and education, and also assumes the right to obtain documents such as birth certificates and passports.

However, sometimes parents want to give a relative custody rights while also retaining the rights for themselves.  Chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes allows for this arrangement in what is termed “concurrent custody.”

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Temporary Custody by an Extended Family Member

If you have a nephew, niece, or grandchild living with you, you may have run into a roadblock when attempting to acquire his or her birth records or passport.  Further, you may have gotten the run around when attempting to make decisions concerning the child’s education or healthcare.  Fortunately, this state has a solution in chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes.

Chapter 751 permits an extended family member to take temporary custody of a minor child, access state and other records, and make major decisions concerning a child’s upbringing.  But, keep in mind, temporary custody must be granted by a Florida court (and cannot simply be signed away by a parent), and there are strict procedural requirements that must be met.

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Is Florida the Correct State for My Child Custody Issue?

Under chapter 61, Florida Statutes, a Florida court generally has jurisdiction for a new custody case (such as (i) divorce involving children’s issues/parenting plan, (ii) paternity/ establishment of time-sharing schedule, or (iii) temporary or concurrent custody of a child by a relative) only if one of the following is true:

  • The child has lived in Florida for at least six months immediately prior to the case being filed (even if the child is or has been temporarily absent from Florida);
  • The child has moved from Florida within the past six months, but prior to that lived in Florida for at least six months; or
  • No other state or country has jurisdiction over the child (or the court of the child’s home state or country has declined jurisdiction) and the child has significant connections to Florida.

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