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Plantation Family Law Blog

International custody dispute decided by federal court in Florida

A federal court in Florida ruled last week that a 20-month-old baby girl will be returned to her mother in Okinawa, Japan. The court made its decision under the Hague Convention, a cross-national agreement designed to prevent parental kidnappings. This is the first decision to benefit Japan since 2014, when Japan agreed to join the treaty.

The child's father is a United States soldier. The U.S. Middle District Court in Florida ruled that the man must return his daughter to the mother in Okinawa. The court ruled that Okinawa is the baby's "habitual residence."

When can grandparents get custody of their grandchildren?

The majority of Florida grandparents want to see their grandchildren as much as possible. Most parents readily support these visitation opportunities, especially because grandparents can serve as extra babysitters, give rides to their grandkids, and even help out financially with childcare expenses.

That said, circumstances force some grandparents to take an even more important role in the rearing of their grandchildren. For example, a grandparent might need to take over as a grandchild's primary guardian and childcare provider.

Parental abduction laws

Violating a child custody order can result in a charge of parental abduction against the parent who absconds with his or her child. It might seem innocent enough to a parent who takes the child -- or the legal violation may even seem justified on a moral level -- and this is why these cases tend to happen.

A parent may, for example, take his or her child across state lines in violation of a child custody order and then stay longer than he or she expected. Nevertheless, according to Florida child custody law, this could qualify as a parental abduction case.

Virtual visitation in Florida: What you should know

Since the advent of the internet, Florida parents can visit with their children via a lot more ways than the telephone and in person. Indeed, parents can call on Skype, chat on Facebook and spend time with their children "virtually" through different internet-based platforms.

In response to the growing trend in virtual visitation, the state of Florida has enacted laws to allow virtual visitation orders by the court in child custody cases. Other states throughout the nation are considering similar laws. Even states that have yet to pass such laws may allow for virtual visitation decisions in certain circumstances.

Establishing a father's paternity rights

A long time ago in Florida, when times were different and medical advances had not reached the level they're at today, it was difficult -- if not impossible -- for a father to go to court and prove the was the biological father of his children. These days, however, a father can prove his paternal identity through blood and DNA tests.

The history of using blood tests to prove paternity stretches back to the 1950s, when medical advancements allowed lab technicians to look at blood molecules of a father and a child to determine if they matched up. Although there was always the chance of error in blood testing, by the 1970s, blood testing was known to have an accuracy of about 95 percent.

How to make visitation time a positive experience for your child

You, your son and the mother of your son used to live together under one roof, but now you're separated from each other, living in different homes. You have visitation rights, though, and your son is spending every other weekend with you at your apartment. What can you do to make your child's visit with you a positive experience?

Both parents can work together to ensure that visitation time is enjoyable for the child and the parent who is being visited. Here's what can be done to ensure visitation goes smoothly:

Can I limit the time my children spend with their grandparents?

Just as Florida spouses might take action to prevent their children from having to spend time with a biological parent, they may also wish to limit their children's contact with grandparents.

In the case of a biological parent, parents will need to present evidence of violent criminal activity, endangerment of the children and other information to show that visitation with the mother or father is not in the best interest of the children. With grandparent, it may be easier to deny them contact with your kids.

Robin Thicke accused of domestic violence in child custody matter

Robin Thicke was hit with a request for a temporary restraining order late last month. A judge granted the restraining order, and also granted temporary sole custody of Thicke's 6-year-old son, Julian, to his ex-wife Paula Patton. The temporary custody and restraining order will last until at least Feb. 24, which is the date of their next court hearing.

In the meantime, Thicke is prohibited from making contact with his ex-wife and son, except for supervised visitation time. Thicke will be permitted to spend time with Julian in the presence of a court-approved supervisor.

What does it mean if you have physical custody?

There are two main types of custody that parents can have in Florida. Those are physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions about your child's life, upbringing, medical care, religion and education. Physical custody refers to the parent that the child lives with. If you have physical custody, you will be the parent who offers daily parenting care to the child.

In some cases, one parent will be the only one who has physical and legal custody of the child. This is referred to as "sole custody." Single parents who have sole custody of their children will not have to answer to the other parent when it comes to the decisions they make regarding their children or child. However, the other parent might have visitation rights that must be honored.

What to expect during a Florida child custody hearing

Most Florida parents prefer to reserve the right to make their own child custody arrangements. Therefore, they will likely come to an agreement about child custody without the need to go to court. However, not all parents can agree on how to share custody. These parents will need to have a child custody hearing before a judge.

When making a decision on child custody, Florida family law courts will have the freedom to consider any information that is relevant to your case. Of paramount concern to the court in any child custody decision, will be the best interests, health and safety of the children involved. In fact, the court will honor your child's best interests over the best interests of you and the other spouse.

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