What if my spouse will not let me see my children?
You can go to Court immediately to get the Judge to order visitation. A party can be held in contempt of Court for failure to honor a Court’s visitation order. And if one does not honor visitation orders, that can be considered when the Court determines the parties timesharing rights regarding children.
Floridalaw also contemplates parenting coordination. The purpose is to provide a dispute resolution process whereby a parenting coordinator assists the parents in creating a parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes between the parents by providing education, making recommendations, and with prior approval of the parents and the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the court’s order of referral. In any action in which a judgment or order has been sought or entered adopting, establishing or modifying a parenting plan, (except for certain domestic violence proceedings) and upon agreement of the parties, or the court’s own motion or motion of a party, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator and refer the parties to parenting coordination to assist in the resolution of disputes concerning their parenting plan. Note that the court will determine the allocation of fees and costs for parenting coordination between the parties. The court may not order the parties to parenting coordination without their consent unless it determines that the parties have the financial ability to pay the parenting coordination fees and costs.
Note that parenting plans are mandatory. They are a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and must contain a time sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but not be limited to; the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. The parenting plan must be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by the court, or established by the court if the parents cannot agree to a plan. (or the parents agreed to a plan that is not approved by the court)
A parenting plan recommendation means a non-binding recommendation concerning one or more elements of a parenting plan made by a court-appointed mental health practitioner or other professional designated under law. In any action where the parenting plan is at issue because the parents are unable to agree, the court may order a social investigation and study, The agency, staff, or person conducting the investigation must furnish the court and all parties a written study containing recommendations.
Aside from time sharing, do I have a right to be involved in decisions concerning my children?
Yes, Florida law provides for “shared parental responsibility” where both parties have a say with regard to important child related issues such as health, education, religion, etc.
Can the Court order something different than shared parental responsibility if my spouse is a danger to the child?
Yes. If the Court finds that it would be detrimental to the child for a parent to participate in decisions concerning the child, then the other spouse can be given sole parental responsibility.
Can the Court order supervised visitation if a parent is a danger to the child?
Yes, but it is your burden to show that there is an actual danger to the child and not that you just happen to dislike the other parent. Also, Courts in general are not going to find that the child is in danger just because your spouse is bringing your child into the presence of their new romantic interest.
For more information, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Rooney & Rooney, P.A.