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.