Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

Out-of-state orders concerning child custody are usually fully honored in Florida's family law courts. Florida courts are required to give full faith and credit to orders entered in other states unless those orders go against the public policy of Florida or are otherwise illegal. In the case Smith v. Daniel, 1D17-4240 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), the appellate court reviewed a trial court's decision to not honor a Kentucky order preventing the father from having any contact with his child. 

Based on domestic violence committed by the father against the mother and the child, a Kentucky order was entered preventing the father from being within 500 feet of the child. The father then sought timesharing with the child as part of a dissolution of marriage action filed in Florida. Although the mother presented evidence of the Kentucky order for protection, the trial court entered a final judgment of dissolution of marriage which granted the father supervised timesharing with the child. 

In reversing the trial court's order, the appellate court found there was insufficient consideration given to all factors listed in Fla. Stat. 61.13 concerning the fashioning of a parenting plan. The appellate court disagreed with the trial court's determination that shared parental responsibility should be awarded, reasoning the trial court did not fully employ its duty to examine the best interest of the child, especially since a finding was made that the domestic violence did substantial emotional damage to the child. 

Rulings such as this prevent a parent from circumventing a court order - if a parent who was unhappy with a court's order could go to another state and obtain relief contrary to that order, orders would have little to no effect. Your best defenses and claims in your Florida child custody case may start with a consultation with a Miami child custody lawyer. A meeting can help you decide how to move forward in the best interest of your children.