Florida mother’s arrest could lead to child custody battle


Relatives of five children living in Florida were shocked to find the kids living in a filthy home filled with trash. According to her own posts on a social media site, the children’s mother was dreading the kids getting out of school. The post also indicated that she wanted to make plans to get away from them, and she asked her friends to “rescue” her. The woman was charged with neglect after authorities learned just how bad the living conditions actually were.

Not only was there trash on the ground that people had to wade through just to walk around the house, but there were also various insect infestations, black mold in the walls and a whole host of other health and sanitation issues. The children have been removed from the home, the mother has been arrested, and the home has been condemned.

The relatives are now arriving from other parts of the country to help the children. One strategy they are taking involves attempting to get custody of the kids so that they can live in a much more healthy situation. A judge will have to determine if this is in the best interests of the child in each case, however. It is not yet known if the mother will be fighting the custody attempts.

The uncle of two of the children talked to the press and was very candid about how appalled he was with the whole situation. He said that he wished he had been able to help the children sooner, but that they had never complained about their living situation or told anyone just how bad it really was.

Many laws are in place to protect children who are neglected. However, getting custody of a another person’s child can be complex and difficult. Even if neglect has been an issue, it would be best for a person trying to gain custody to be as informed as possible in order to navigate the potentially complicated process.

Source: WFTV, “Relatives of Orlando children found living in filth come to Fla. to help” No author given, Mar. 27, 2014

Custody dispute over teen to be settled by judge


When most parents make decisions regarding their child, they usually consider all the available options. Whether the issue is what school their child should attend or the medical treatment the child should receive, a parent should always keep the best interests of the child in mind. Sometimes though, others might feel that parents are not acting in a child’s best interests and decide to intervene. When this happens, parents can find themselves locked in a custody battle they never thought would happen to them.

Orlando readers might be familiar with a dispute between parents of a teen girl and a hospital. The teen girl was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease by one hospital, but a second hospital disagreed. The second hospital believes that the girl does not have the disease but has a psychological disorder. When the girl’s parents attempted to transfer back to the original hospital, the second hospital intervened and charged the parents with medical child abuse. The teen has been in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families ever since.

The parents have filed a motion to be granted conditional custody of their daughter. Children and families services is fighting the motion. The judge can find in favor of the parents, find in favor for the agency or opt to transfer the teen’s care to the state of Connecticut, which is her home state.

This case is interesting because generally, social services gets involved when a child is being denied care. However in this case, care is being given, but there is a disagreement about a diagnosis. The judge’s decision will be important because it could set a precedent; it could allow a hospital over overrule a parent’s decision about the care and treatment for a child. Those who find themselves in a battle for their child should consider seeking the advice of an experienced legal professional so their rights to parent can be enforced and protected.

Source: Newsmax, “Justina Pelletier: Judge to Settle Custody Battle for 15-Year-Old” Clyde Hughes, Mar. 20, 2014

Closing an adoption loophole could be fathers’ rights win


An unmarried father that wants to be an active parent can sometimes find themselves at a disadvantage. If a child’s mother does not want the father to be involved in decision making, the father may have to utilize the legal system to prove paternity and assert their rights as the father. In some cases, the mothers might not even let the father know a child exists.

Orlando readers might be shocked to learn that a woman can travel to Utah and make decisions about a child, such as putting the child up for adoption, and never consult the father. However, Utah is taking steps to change their adoption laws. There are three bills in the works that will make it easier for out-of-state fathers to track down children who might have been born in the state.

One piece of legislation will require the state to share information with other states when a father is conducting a search. A second proposed change would require women who lived in the state for less than 90 days to provide information about the possible father of the child being put up for adoption. A third piece of legislation that would have improved notification to fathers has been tabled due to opposition.

The new proposals will give fathers more rights when it comes to their children. Currently, 30 men have filed a federal lawsuit regarding Utah’s current laws. Hopefully the proposed changes will allow fathers to exercise the rights they deserve to have.

For any father who feels they are not being treated fairly, speaking to a legal professional can help them determine what rights they have and assist in rectifying the situation.

Source: FoxNews, “Three Utah bills to change rights of biological fathers in adoption cases encounter pushback” Alicia Acuna, Faith Mangan, Mar. 12, 2014

What drives the cost of divorce?


Making the decision to get divorced is never easy. However, if a couple decides that their marriage is irretrievably broken, in Orlando and the rest of the state of Florida, a divorce can be settled quickly. How quickly will depend on several factors.

A couple that agrees that a divorce is the best solution for everyone involved can resolve things more quickly than a couple that has a spouse who wants to fight ending the marriage. An extended court battle will drive up the costs of the divorce. Also, parents who can craft a parenting plan that details child support obligations can avoid one of the most contentious portions of a divorce and keep costs down.

The key word to a quick and inexpensive divorce is communication and agreement. If the couple agrees on all of the above-mentioned facts, as well as issues such as alimony and asset division, both may walk away from the marriage without emptying their bank accounts for attorney’s fees.

Even a couple that has some issues to work through before the final decree can make the process move faster with the help of legal professionals. Getting divorced is an emotional experience; using the advice of counsel can take the emotions out of the experience so that the divorcing couple can focus on the math of the divorce. Anyone who is considering a divorce should consider seeking the advice of a legal professional so that a fair and equitable settlement can be reached that will satisfy the needs of everyone involved in a difficult and complex life situation.

Source: Florida Times-Union, “How Much Does Divorce Cost?” Rusty Collins, Mar. 04, 2014