Articles Posted in Child Custody

Child custody and time sharing battles in Florida divorces are always stressful situations for the people involved.  Jacksonville divorce lawyers and custody lawyers zealously represent clients who each want something different when it comes to custody or time sharing.  The judge hearing the case has to decide what is in the children’s best interest.  This is the standard that is always applied.  What the parties want, including the children, is not the controlling factor.  When the husband and wife are both fit parents and can provide a stable environment for children, difficult decisions have to be made.   So what factors will the judge consider in determining child custody and time sharing battles in Florida divorces?

man-woman-heart-5-1056041-mFlorida Statutes 61.13(3) lists several factors that judges can consider, but gives judges discretion to consider any facts that the judge deems relevant.  Click the link above to view the complete list and the full body of the statute.  Florida’s state policy is that each parent is afforded the chance to build a strong relationship with children.  The first factor on the list of things the judge is to consider is, “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.”  In view of the State policy and the importance of having both parents actively in children’s lives to help produce healthy, emotionally balanced children, it is no coincidence that this factor is listed first.  Other factors include the future division of parental responsibility, the reasonable preference of the children, school and community records of children, moral fitness of parents, and more.

For help with child custody and time sharing issues, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today at (904) 685-1200.  Initial consultations are free.  Our experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyers can help you understand your rights as a parent and coach you through a stressful divorce.  Our attorneys have years of litigation experience and are prepared to fight for you when needed, but are also skilled in assisting you with uncontested divorces or collaborative divorce.  Schedule a consultation today.

Can children choose what parent to live with after a divorce?  The short answer is probably “no”.  Most child custody lawyers would agree that custody and visitation are probably the most highly contested issues between people when relationships don’t work and the couple has had children.  Whether there is a genuine belief by a parent that children will be better off with him or her, or whether a parent is being spiteful when requesting majority timesharing, one argument that comes up is that the children prefer to live with one parent over the other.

Section 61.13, Florida Statutes states that a child’s reasonable preference about what parent to live with may be considered; however, the child’s choice will not control the court’s decision.  The court will weigh and relevant factors and decide what is in the child’s best interest.  A child’s desire to live with the “fun parent” won’t simply be taken at face value.  A child’s preference doesn’t always come into the equation, but when the preference is at issue, a child’s age, maturity level, and so on will be taken into account.  In practice, the child’s preference is likely to have little bearing on the court’s decision without there being more objective evidence that shows that the child’s preference is in line with the child’s best interest.  There are many things that come into play when the child’s best interest is being decided.  Typically, giving a child continuity and stability will be high on the priority list.  Things like whether one parent is likely to encourage a loving and nurturing relationship between the children and the other parent is important too.

For more information on child custody, visitation, divorce, and family law issues, called the experienced family lawyers at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today at (904) 685-1200 for a free initial consultation.

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There are numerous reasons that spouses cite when filing for divorce. These reasons vary greatly. However no matter what the reason, in recent years a new trend has developed on when spouses actually file for divorce- and it is right after New Years Day.

The most common time of year for filing for divorce is the month of January, which is now nicknamed divorce month. In the month of January, the most popular day to file is January 2nd and January 3rd, which is right after the New Years’s Day holiday.

There are probably many reasons why divorce filings double during this period of time. Many spouses report wanting to stick it through the holidays because they feel it will be easier on the family and/or the children. Some couples believe that the togetherness and emphasis on family that comes with the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas will solve all of the preceding year’s problems. Sometimes the stress of the holidays makes an already declining marriage much worse.

Since the New Year’s Holiday seems to bring with it a period of reflection and review of the previous year, it may be the last reflection that a spouse needs in order to get them to file. No matter what the reason for the split is, divorce filings double in January. Statistics show that approximately 10 percent of couples don’t make it to their fifth wedding anniversary and roughly 25 percent divorce before they make it to their tenth wedding anniversary.
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The last several days we looked at laws Jacksonville, Florida parents should know about. This is the last installment in this series.

18. I am not sure that I want my kids vaccinated against all of the diseases that my pediatrician recommends. I have heard about negative side effects. Do I have a choice? Section 381.003, Florida Statutes establishes programs for the prevention of preventable disease. The law requires that all children receive vaccines protecting against the spread of diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and other diseases for child-care center or school attendance. There are religious exceptions.


A religious exemption for vaccination is a written form certifying that the parent’s objection to immunization for religious reasons exempts the parent and child from state vaccination requirements.
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This exemption is only necessary for use in Florida Public and private schools for kindergarten through grade 12.

  • A religious exemption is for anyone who has a sincere religious conflict with vaccination.
  • A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual’s own moral/spiritual conscience to live God’s Word.

Q: What constitutes a religious conflict with vaccination?

  • All vaccines are made in violation of God’s Word.
  • Vaccines are made with toxic chemicals that are injected into the bloodstream by vaccination.
  • All vaccines are made with foreign proteins (viruses and bacteria), and some vaccines are made with genetically engineered viral and bacterial materials.
  • A conflict arises if you believe that man is made in God’s image and the injection of toxic chemicals and foreign proteins into the bloodstream is a violation of God’s directive to keep the body/temple holy and free from impurities.
  • A conflict arises if you accept God’s warning not to mix the blood of man with the blood of animals.
  • Many vaccines are produced in animal tissues.
  • A conflict arises if your religious convictions are predicated on the belief that all life is sacred.
  • God’s commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” applies to the practice of abortion.
  • When you believe that the practice of abortion should not be encouraged or supported in any way, a conflict arises with the use of vaccines produced in aborted fetal tissue even though you did not have any other connection with the abortions from which the vaccines are derived.

Q: What religions qualify for religious exemption?

  • The statutory language for Florida vaccine policy clearly states that religious exemption must be granted without question if vaccination conflicts with a person’s religious convictions.
  • A religious objection may be expressly implied by religious denomination or it may be based on an individual’s own moral/spiritual conscience to live God’s Word.

Yesterday we looked at laws Jacksonville, Florida parents should know about. Here are a few more.

9. My kid is always bruised from playing. His teacher suspected we were abusing him and called the police and DCF on us. Why did she do that?
She was following Florida law, which requires any person who believes that a child is being abused, neglected or exploited to report the suspicions to the Department of Children and Families (DDCF). The law provides the person making the report with immunity, as long as she acted in good faith. If your son’s teacher hadn’t reported her suspicions, she could have been charged with a crime.

10. What does a child need to know before entering kindergarten?
Admission to a public kindergarten is not contingent upon what a child knows; if the child meets the age requirement, he or she is eligible for admission. The Florida Partnership for School Readiness has published “Performance Standards” for 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Those standards reflect what children should know and be able to do. You may access that information and other resources from the Partnership’s website. In addition, the Sunshine State Standards provide expectations for student achievement in Florida. These were written in seven subject areas, each divided into four separate grade clusters (PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12).
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Like every state in the Union, Florida has a host of laws that affect you as a parent. Some of this laws or Administrative Rules may enhance your parental rights, while others, if not followed could land you in jail or create civil or criminal liabilities if not obeyed. While every Parent in the United States has a Fundamental Right to be a parent, with these rights come important responsibilities.

So how do you know what is the law? We hope this series of articles will guide you to a few important concepts regarding Florida Law.

1. How long can I keep my kids home with me before I have to send them to school?

Florida law, states that all children who are either six years of age, who will be six years old by February 1 of any school year, or who are older than six years of age but who have not attained the age of 16 years, must attend school regularly during the entire school term.

2. Does Florida law specify an age requirement for admission into a public school first grade?

Florida law does not provide a specific age requirement for enrollment to public first grade, the provisions of Florida law related to kindergarten admission and student progression dictate that first grade enrollment be limited to (1) students who turn six years old on or before September 1 who have successfully completed kindergarten; and (2) out-of-state students who turn six years old after September 1 who meet the age requirement for public kindergarten admission from the transferring state, and who have successfully completed kindergarten.
3. Can we home school our Children?

Yes. When you decide to home school a child in Florida, you must notify the school district superintendent of your intentions in writing. The letter must include names, addresses, and birth dates of the children who will be enrolled in home education and must be filed within 30 days of beginning the homeschooling process. The same process must be completed if you decide to stop homeschooling your children, and the letter again must be filed within 30 days of the termination of the home education program. You will also be required to have an annual educational evaluation of your child or children, which is to be performed by a licensed teacher within the State of Florida. If you are teaching elementary grades, an elementary teacher will be needed for the evaluation; and if you are teaching secondary grades, you will need to have the evaluation performed by a secondary teacher.
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Very often a client will tell me he or she wants the best possible outcome in a divorce case. He or she may want the other Parent to have diminished time with their child. Much of the time this parent thinks they are protecting their child from what they see to be a bad person. They have confused their failed relationship with this person with a failed parent, which is an entirely different thing. I take a different approach…is my client’s position a reasonable one that I can justify to the Judge? The one issue that must remain on a client’s mind is this: Will a third party (read the Judge) find my position reasonable?

I find this one of the most important and effective of tools to obtain good and fair results in the courtroom, even when I can’t achieve every single one of my client’s goals. Reasonableness speaks to credibility. It also assumes that possibility of some win-win, and enables the Court to feel it has achieved substantial justice. Judges don’t generally like giving one side everything they ask for, unless of course they are really displeased at the other side.

By staking out a position that the judge will find thoughtful and reasonsable, you may gain wiggle room in other areas that you deem to be more important. Winning in Family Court means everyone walks out a winner. And a very happy Judge.
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slide_11845_156784_large.jpgFacebook is a good resource to communicate with old friends. Some people find it useful for such odd things as improving your heart rate or landing a job by networking. But one thing using Facebook may hurt is your chances of getting a fair hearing if you are going through a Florida Divorce or a Child Custody proceeding.

Facebook based circumstantial evidence has been used by 81percent of its members according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

You are probably thinking that you set your facebook account’s privacy settings high and you’ve blocked your ex, so they can’t see damaging information. But that does not stop your “friends” from forwarding damaging information.

He’s a list of things never to post to Facebook while going through family law related legal issues:

• That your ex was just a surrogate.
• Your ex is CRAZY, STALKING YOU or PSYCHO!!!!!!
• Pictures of you in the embrace of your new squeeze.
• Pictures of you consuming alcoholic beverages.
• Don’t check in at 3am at the club.
• Don’t Friend that Hot Guy or Girl that has 1000 friends.
• Photos of your Children.
• Racy Pictures.
• Brag about how sexually desirable you are now that “you’re free.”
• Anything that can be deemed negative about your former mate.
• Anything you would not want a Judge to find out about.

If you need a Jacksonville Family Lawyer, please give us a call at 904-685-1200.

old-tree-2.jpgWhile most of us look forward to a happy New Year as we head into January, many couples in Jacksonville marital problems are thinking about taking the first steps towards separation.

Winter is widely regarded in the legal profession as the busiest time of year. Jacksonville Divorce lawyers find that a lot of people who are having marriage difficulties try to get through Christmas, especially if they have children to think about, but once the stressful festivities are over, they see the New Year as the ideal time to make a fresh start.

Legal Seperation in Florida is not valid so the decision and implementation of a separate is one of the most important step in ending a relationship. the decisions you may during seperation or without advice of counsel can affect you for the rest of your life. It can change the division of assets, child custody, child support and even who gets to keep the marital home. The emotional upheaval, worries about how much the divorce will cost, and how it will affect your children make it a time fraught with worry and uncertainty.

At a minimum getting sound legal advice will make you feel that you have some control over a very unfamiliar situation and give you some reassurance about your long-term future.

If you would like to talk about the decisions you are making for the New Year, give us a call at 904-685-1200.

As most everyone realizes, some child custody cases can quickly become heated between the two feuding parents. More often than one might like to admit, one of the parents might engage in some less than honorable behavior. One millionaire father in Florida recently did just that and is now finding himself in hot water.

The Florida dad decided to take his custody case into his own hands, ignoring the ruling by the judge presiding over his divorce. While his actions did help resolve the dispute in his favor, it also ended with a jail sentence of 180 days. Not quite the bargain he was hoping for.

So what did the dad do to warrant such severe criminal sanctions? He made the mistake of ignoring a judge. Family law judges have tremendous power in custody cases and when they issue an order requiring specific action, failure to follow that order can result in an individual being held in contempt of court. In the Florida case, the father was ordered to enroll his son in a boarding school across the country. Apparently believing that he knew best, the father ignored the judge and instead consented to the minor son’s marriage.

The marriage was between the 16-year-old son and the 18-year-old daughter of the family’s long-time housekeeper. The young couple eloped to Las Vegas where marriage only requires the consent of one parent, which the father gladly gave. The result of the marriage was that it effectively emancipated the son, making any further custody disputes such as child support or decision-making power moot.

When word got out about what the man had done the judge was understandably livid. When handing down his sentence, the judge wrote in his final order that, “It is hard for this court to imagine a bolder, more egregious example of indirect criminal contempt.”

The son now lives in a penthouse owned by the father, and the father reported that he plans to appeal the decision sending him to jail. The moral of the story is clear: if your family law judge tells you to do something, do it, or else you might find yourself wearing stripes.

If you have questions about a divorce proceeding and would like a Jacksonville divorce attorney to assist you in the matter, contact us today by email or by calling at (904) 685-1200.

Source: “Fla. Millionaire Gets 180 Days for Contempt in Divorce Case for Permitting Vegas Wedding,” by Martha Neil, published at ABAJournal.com.

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