Understanding Florida Child Dependency Cases

Dependency Cases often interact with family law cases.

Dependency Cases often interact with family law cases. They are filed when parents are alleged to have abused, abandoned, or neglected their children.  Dependency cases are usually handled by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  However, anyone with knowledge can file a dependency petition.   There are very distinct definitions. Abandoned means a parent, while … Read more

Child Custody by Extended Families

Custody by Extended Families

A hot topic these days is Child Custody by Extended Families. The parents may have a drug problem, or they may be in jail. Parents also ask extended families to help out while he or she is in college, or the military. In all of these circumstances, it’s good to know when and whether you … Read more

Child Adoptions in Florida

For many grandparents and stepparents in Florida, adoptions make the family whole.

For many grandparents and stepparents in Florida, adoptions make the family whole. Florida courts recognize several different types of adoptions. Some involve the Department of Children and Families. These cases involve children who have been taken away from the parents. These parents are given a case plan, which is a set of tasks to improve their … Read more

Understanding The Legal Process – A Quick Tutorial

The legal process is something all people in a lawsuit should understand. Too often, new clients come to us and are confused by the process. So here's a quick tutorial.

The legal process is something all people in a lawsuit should understand. Too often, new clients come to us and are confused by the process. So here’s a quick tutorial. The legal process is always started by filing a Petition, or Complaint.   In legal terms, it’s called a pleading. The other party must usually … Read more

Adoption by Stepparents

Stepparent adoption is a good option for many blended families. This is especially true when the other parent is not active with the kids. We see a lot of cases in which a child was born out of wedlock, and the mother (or father) is now married. Their new significant other is highly involved with … Read more

Grandparent Visitation Gains New Life in Florida

Grandparents -- take heart. A new statute has recently been passed allowing grandparent visitation rights under certain circumstances.

Grandparents — take heart. A new statute has recently been passed allowing grandparent visitation rights under certain circumstances. For years, Grandparents had no visitation rights.  This new statute is a small step forward, but it does provide some relief when the parents are deceased, missing, or are in a persistent vegetative state. It covers both … Read more

Temporary Child Custody By Grandparents

A child’s initial memories revolve around his parents and siblings. To them, their family is their world. All too often, grandparents find themselves filling this role. The reasons for this are plenty. Maybe the parents are out of state. Or maybe the parents are using drugs or are in prison. Sometimes a parent just wants … Read more

Autism Awareness 2015, Parenting for a Brighter Future

Autism Awareness 2015

April is Autism Awareness month, and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Many towns will be lighting up the sky — or buildings — in blue to raise awareness about Autism. For me, it’s very personal, as I have a son on the spectrum. And it’s been a challenge. For years now, we have … Read more

Appeals in a Nutshell

Appeals in a Nutshell

We finished oral argument in an appeal this week, and it occurred to me that many do not understand the appellate process. Appeals are a way of having a judge’s decision reviewed by a higher court. In most family law and civil cases, this involves filing an appeal with the District Court of Appeal.  Unlike … Read more

Grandparent Rights

Temporary Child Custody By Grandparents

We see many grandparents who are actively raising their grandchildren. Some are helping out the parents, others have fully taken the role of being the parent. Here in Florida, grandparents do not have visitation rights. (Update: See “Grandparent Visitation Gains New Life“) However, the Florida Statutes allow grandparents, as well as other close relatives, to … Read more