Articles Posted in Child Custody

In divorce actions, as in other cases, the court can enter a default judgment against a party that fails to respond to a complaint. While a default judgment may be proper in a straightforward divorce action, it is not suitable in a case involving the custody of a child. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion, in which the appellate court discussed the exercise of personal jurisdiction over absent defendants and the appropriateness of a judgment by default in custody matters. If you or our spouse intend to end your marriage, it is important to understand your rights, and it is in your best interest to meet with a knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney to assess your rights.

The Underlying Action

It is reported that the parties were married in October 2015 and had one child together. They separated in March 2017, and in December 2019, the wife filed a petition for the dissolution of marriage with a minor child. At the time, the wife lived in Key West, the husband lived in Illinois, and the child lived with the husband’s family in Florida. The husband was personally served with the divorce papers by a Sheriff’s deputy in Illinois.

Allegedly, the husband did not enter an appearance or make any effort to contest the divorce. The hearing was then held in February 2020, during which a special magistrate recommended granting the wife’s petition, thereby awarding her sole custody of the child. The court subsequently entered a default judgment, dissolving the marriage and granting the wife sole custody of the child. The husband then appealed. Continue reading ›

When parents divorce, they will typically share custody of their children. In some instances, one parent will initially be granted the majority of custody time, but subsequent changes in circumstances will lead to a modification that allocates primary custody to the other parent. Recently, a Florida court addressed the issue of whether a modification order that changes the right to the majority of parenting time from one parent to another must include terms for how the other parent can regain meaningful time sharing rights. If you are involved in a dispute over custody of your child, it is critical to speak to a trusted Florida child custody attorney to discuss what steps you can take to protect your rights.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the mother and father divorced in 2015. Pursuant to the divorce decree, the mother was granted the majority of the parenting time of the couple’s minor child. In 2019, the father sought a modification of the custody arrangement. The court granted the modification, giving the majority of parenting time to the father.

It is alleged that the mother conceded that a material change in circumstances occurred that required a change in custody and did not contest the terms of the time-sharing arrangement under the supplemental order. The mother nonetheless appealed the order, arguing that the court erred in failing to set forth what steps the mother could take to regain substantial parenting rights.

Continue reading ›

Contact Information