5 Reasons to Consider Shared Custody in Child Custody Battle

5 Reasons to Consider Shared Custody in Child Custody Battle

Divorce lawyers have seen it all, but one common theme in their work with clients is that parents tend to use their children to hurt one another. Florida, like most states, uses a best interests of the child standard to determine child custody, which means that both parents will almost always get some time with the child. Shared custody is increasingly popular, though, and offers numerous benefits to parents and their children. Unless there is a history of abuse or one parent is extraordinarily negligent, we advise parents to consider shared custody for the following reasons. Kids Are Happier Research suggests that children whose parents enter into shared custody arrangements are happier with their lives a few years after the divorce. This might be because, when shared custody enters the scene, it’s much less likely that children will lose their relationship with one parent. Parents Are Happier It’s not just kids who benefit from shared custody! Research has also found that both mothers and fathers report being happier with their custody arrangement if they try shared custody. Happiness can take time, of course. Most parents are a bit resentful of shared custody at first, but five years later, studies show they’re much more satisfied.   You’ll Have More Time Being a parent means perpetually giving up time to be with your child. This can be tough when you’re going through a divorce. You’ll need time to grieve, time to date, perhaps even time to reinvent yourself – or discover yourself for the first time. Shared custody frees you up to enjoy your own life without worrying about your kids...
Will I Lose Custody of My Children in Florida?

Will I Lose Custody of My Children in Florida?

Spouses in Palm Beach County, Florida, and surrounding areas may be eager to get out of a bad marriage, but one question can leave you lingering in a miserable marriage for months, or even years: what about my kids? No one wants to subject their children to the pain of a divorce, but even worse is the risk of losing your relationship with your children altogether. You’re right to worry, since worry can spur you to make good decisions and hire a skilled lawyer. But the truth is that, unless you face some unusual circumstances, it’s highly unlikely you’ll lose your kids. The Best Interests of the Child Florida uses the best interest of the child standard, which means that there is no presumption in favor of either parent. Instead, it’s up to the judge to evaluate what is in the child’s best interest. The judge can evaluate a number of factors, including: The ability of each parent to provide for the child The emotional stability of each parent The quality of environment offered by each parent The relationship between the child and parent In most cases, your previous relationship with your child will be what counts most. If you’re a loving, involved parent, you have very little to worry about. If you have a history of addiction, have behaved abusively, or have engaged in domestic violence, though, you very well could lose your children, particularly if the history is recent or you have not sought treatment.  Joint Custody Many judges start from a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child and reason backward...

Court Decides Grandparent-Parent Custody Dispute

Palm Beach County Divorce Lawyer Palm Beach County Divorce Lawyer Christopher R. Bruce observed the following case from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal: Case:               Seigler v. Bell Court:             Fifth District Court of Appeal. Trial Judge:   Linda D. Schoonover. Attorneys:      Christie L. Mitchell, Vicki Levy Eskin. Issues:             Child Custody. Holding:          If the trial court’s order, or any amended order on point, does not clearly adopt the general magistrate’s report as the final judgment, then the report is not a is not a final appealable judgment or order. The trial court must also consider whether a motion for rehearing or a motion for reconsideration is being sought. Nomenclature does not control, and motions for either “rehearing” or “reconsideration” aimed at final judgments shall be treated as motions for rehearing, while motions aimed at nonfinal orders are treated as motions for reconsideration. n this case, the trial court reviewed the general magistrate’s report providing for temporary custody of the Mother’s child to the Grandmother, and the subsequent review of the matter on motion by the Mother for substantial visitation. While the trial court modified the general magistrate’s report, it did not adopt the report as a final judgment of the court. Several trial court decisions followed which awarded the Mother custody, altered and eventually eliminated the Grandmother’s visitation. These triggered the Grandmother’s application for a rehearing or reconsideration. Since the trial court did not adopt the magistrate’s report as a final judgment, the motion for rehearing or reconsideration was a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order. Florida procedural rules regulating the time for filing...

3rd DCA Decides Parental Rights Case

PALM BEACH COUNTY DIVORCE LAWYER Palm Beach County Divorce Lawyer Christopher R. Bruce observed the following case from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal: Case:               R.W. v. Department of Children and Families Court:             Third District Court of Appeal. Trial Judge:   Cindy S. Lederman. Attorneys:      Steven Grossbard, Karla Perkins for Department of Children and Families, Patricia Murphy Propheter for Guardian ad Litem Program. Issues:             Parental Rights. Holding:          If, after a hearing regarding the termination of parental rights, there is a conflict between the trial court’s oral pronouncement and its written order, the oral pronouncement controls. In this case, the trial court erred in issuing a final judgment in conflict with its oral pronouncement after trial. The written final judgment terminated the appellant father’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment. However, the trial court’s oral pronouncement after trial was that it did not find abandonment, based on the evidence presented. The matter was remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. Christopher R. Bruce is a Divorce Lawyer with the law firm of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce. Mr. Bruce’s law practice is limited to the mediation, litigation and appeals of divorce and family law matters. His practice is throughout South Florida, including Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and other areas throughout Palm Beach County, Martin County and Broward County. To speak with Mr. Bruce, or another member of the firm, call (561)...

Recent Guardianship Case

West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Matthew S. Nugent observed the case below from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal.  Clicking on the name of the case below links to the text of the entire opinion: Case:               A.A. v. Department of Children and Families Court:             Third District Court of Appeal. Trial Judge:   Cindy S. Lederman. Attorneys:      Joanne M. Postel, Karla Perkins Department of Children and Families, Hillary Kambour, Guardian ad Litem Program. Issues:             Child Custody, Reunification. Holding:          A hearing must be conducted, or evidence considered, whenever a parent with intact parental rights petitions to modify a permanent guardianship order or to obtain reunification/increased contact with the child. The petitioner must provide evidence to demonstrate that the safety, well-being, and the physical, mental, and emotional health of the child is not endangered by the modification being sought. This fulfills a party’s right to due process, which includes the right to present evidence and testimony in support of his or her motion. In this case, the trial court failed to hold a hearing before refusing to modify the permanency order and allow reunification. The trial court erred further when it denied the petitioner’s subsequent request for a rehearing on this basis. The matter was remanded for the trial court to conduct an evidentiary hearing and render an order in compliance with the relevant statutes. Matthew S. Nugent is a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney with the law firm of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce. Mr. Nugent’s law practice is limited to the mediation, litigation and appeals of divorce and family law matters. His practice is throughout South...

Fourth DCA Addresses Patient-Psychotherapist Privilege in Child Custody Cases

PATIENT-PSYCOTHERAPIST PRIVILEGE IN CHILD CUSTODY CASES The Palm Beach County Bar Association recently published an article by Nugent Zborowski & Bruce partner Christopher R. Bruce on how the Fourth District Court of Appeal addressed the patient-psychotherapist privilege in child custody cases. The case of Carrillo-Jimenez v. Carillo, 110 So. 3d 490 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) is instructive as to the role a mental health therapist plays in disclosing (or not disclosing) confidential information obtained through therapy of a child-clients and also reaffirms the role (or lack of role) that the guardian ad litem program plays in this process. In Carillo, Palm Beach County Judge Rosemarie Scher denied a father’s request to strike a social investigation report on account of the report including confidential communications between the children and their psychotherapist.  Part of the father’s motion to strike was based upon the court not appointing a guardian ad litem for purposes of determining whether the child’s patient-psychotherapist privilege should be waived or asserted.  The father petitioned the Fourth DCA for a writ of certiorari following the denial of his motion to strike, claiming that the trial court’s future consideration of the social investigation report’s contents would disadvantage him in the dissolution proceedings. In Carillo, the Fourth DCA denied the father’s petition.  Relying on Hughes v. Schatzberg, 872 So. 2d 996 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004), the court held that a parent involved in contested custody litigation lacks standing to assert the patient-psychotherapist privilege on behalf of their child “where the parent is involved in litigation seeking to pursue their own interests, and the child is not a party to the underlying action”.  Given...