Articles Posted in Parental Rights

foster kids.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I am always reading articles that relate to family law issues in the Jacksonville and surrounding areas. I recently stumbled upon a Tampa Bay Times article titled, “Is a child always better off with relatives, even after bonding with a foster family?”. This article describes the turmoil that can develop in a Termination of Parental Rights/Dependency case. Whether you find yourself having your parental rights terminated or are just interested in the issue I encourage you to read the article.

Contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today for a consultation for any family law related issues.

The debate over parental rights and obese children has reared its head again. CBS News is reporting an 8-year-old Ohio boy was recently placed in foster care because his parents medically neglected him. Reports are suggesting the boy weighs more than 200 pounds, whereas, government growth charts suggests most 8-year-old boys weigh approximately 60 pounds.

County case workers allege they had been working with the mother for 20 months without any noticeable improvement in the child’s health.

This case begs the question of when should the state step in and intrude on parental rights.

According to a recent news report, parents are increasingly arguing the issue of child obesity in child custody cases. In many states, including Florida, family courts are often burdened with deciding the rights of parents following a divorce. Couples should figure these terms out on their own, but the court may, in some instances, have to make the decision for them. In Jacksonville the court makes this decision based on the best interest of the child standard and considers arguments from both sides as to which parent should get which rights.

Parents are generally free to offer any sort of evidence (provided it complies with the rules of evidence) for the court to consider, and some parents are beginning to argue that the other parent has contributed to the child’s obesity. They can show this in any number of ways; for example, by referencing the child’s weight, by showing the sort of diet the other parent provides the child, or showing the other parent lets the child sit inside to play video games all day. For example, one case from Oregon saw a judge limit rights of a parent who was providing fast-food meals to the child for nearly every single meal.

It is important to note that a child’s obesity is just one factor the court might consider. But if a child’s parent is encouraging unhealthy behavior, there are likely other issues to consider as well. If you are going through a child custody case or a divorce, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney to discuss your case.

rivera.jpgYou may have heard the sad but interesting story about a Jacksonville woman, Jessica Rivera, who has been charged with the death of her 13-year-old daughter after the young girl was found malnourished and covered with lice back in June. The girl was originally found unresponsive. Coroners stated the cause of her death was due to organ failure, caused by a massive infection.

Unfortunately, Ms. Rivera had three other children. The good news is that all three of her children were removed from their deplorable condition and are now under the state’s custody.

One interesting aspect of Ms. Rivera’s case is how the state has the ability to remove her children from the home. Ms. Rivera’s case is extreme and it appears the state was within reason when it removed her children, but that’s not always the case. Generally, courts will terminate parental rights only in extreme situations where the bets interest of the child is not in his or her parental home. There is usually a hearing involved, but court proceedings can be confusing and overwhelming, especially in such harrowing circumstances. If you are wrongfully facing the loss of your parental rights, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney to discuss your options.

putative father.jpegThe State of Florida’s legislature, in 2003, created what is called a “Putative Father Registry.” This registry was created so unmarried “putative” fathers could register their intent to exercise parental rights to a child who the they believe may have been born by virtue of a sexual relationship they had with the child’s mother. What exactly does putative father mean? Putative father is a person who is alleged to be the father of a child or the supposed father of a child.

Florida Law states that an unmarried man, by virtue of the fact that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman, is deemed to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding the child may occur and that he has a duty to protect his own rights and interest.

In order to preserve the right to notification and consent in the event of an adoption an unmarried man in the State of Florida must file a claim of Paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry. By doing this he must confirm his inclination and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed. However, such a claim of paternity may not be filed after the date a Petition is filed for the Termination of Parental Rights.

whos your daddy.jpgAs a Jacksonville Paternity Lawyer, I often have cases where the parties are not married but they have a child in common. In my experience many men falsely believe simply because their name is on the birth certificate that they are legally the fathers. In Florida this is simply not the case!

Under Florida law, until a Judge signs an Order which determines you are the father, then the child is NOT legally yours. As such, you have no legal rights to the child for timesharing or parental rights of any kind.

In order to be recognized as the legal father in Florida it is necessary to file what is called a Petition for Determination of Paternity. Paternity actions are brought before the court in order to assist a parent in acknowledging and protecting important time-sharing and child support rights and/or obligations.

gavel.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I receive numerous inquiries regarding issues relating to termination of parental rights. For example, just this morning a mother contacted me and asked if she could terminate the parental rights of her daughter’s biological father. The biological father had not seen the child since September 2010 and has made no attempt to contact her for visitation purposes. The mother would like to terminate the biological father’s parental rights and allow the child’s step father to adopt.

In situations like that described above, I turn to Florida Statute 39.806. This statute covers the Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights, which range from mutual consent by the parties to abandonment.

Depending on the circumstances in the above described situation, the parental rights of the biological father may be terminated. However, there are numerous legal hoops that would need to be jumped prior to the termination being granted.

St. Petersburg Times reported on Sunday, August 21, 2011, that a Pinellas County woman was arrested on charges of sale of parental rights and violation of probation for grand theft.

According to reports, sometime last week, Jessica Marie Beers, 28, offered to sell her son to James Gardner and his wife to feed her drug habit. Since the arrest the minor child has been in custody of child protective services.

Should you find yourself having legal issues regarding your parental rights contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney for further assistance.

rights.jpegFlorida Statute 39.806 governs termination of parental rights in Florida. The Statute not only specifies what are grounds for termination of parental rights but also specifies circumstances which do not establish grounds for termination of parental rights.

Circumstances that do not establish grounds for terminating parental rights include: mental illness or deficiency, alcohol or drug induced incapacity, failure to maintain contact, failure to provide support and/or failure to establish paternity.

If you are in a situation where your parental rights may be terminated contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today!

A Parenting Plan is a document that governs the way divorcing parties relate to one another about the decisions made regarding their children. A Parenting Plan includes a time-sharing schedule that dictates when the parties’ children will be spending time with each parent, including overnights, weekends, holidays and summer breaks. Also included in a Parenting Plan is how often and the method of technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the children.

If a Parenting Plan can be developed and agreed to by the divorcing parents then it only needs the approval of the Court to become binding. However, if the divorcing parents cannot agree, the schedule will be established by the Court’s determination.

If you have questions regarding an upcoming divorce or a current parenting plan contact a knowledgable Jacksonville Divorce Attorney today.

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