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Category: Time-Sharing & Parental Responsibility

Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules — Sotero v. Sullivan (Part II)

The primary issues raised by the Sotero case – the confidentiality of parenting coordination, and the authority the court can give to the parenting coordinator, are two issue often relevent to a Broward County divorce attorney or client, when they evaluate the possible use of a parenting coordinator in a contested divorce or other family law case. Even in contested cases, I believe parents in parenting coordination make efforts to address children’s issues for the sake of their children, but the parenting coordination happens within the context of an adversarial case, where the parents are often also going be concerned about how the parenting coordination may affect their case. So, issues parents may be concerned about are what information the parenting coordinator can bring back to the Judge regarding communications in the sessions or the parenting coordinator’s recommendations, and also the authority of the parenting coordinator. There are some significant

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Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules — Sotero v. Sullivan

A Florida appellate court, for the appeals district covering Miami-Dade County, recently entered a decision dealing with the authority of Parenting Coordinators in family law cases, and the confidentiality of communications in Parenting Coordination — Sotero v. Sullivan. In this case, the Mother appealed the decision of the trial court based on the trial court without the consent of the Mother: giving the parenting coordinator the authority to make binding decisions regarding the minor child in the case; giving the parenting coordinator the authority to impose monetary sanctions upon the parents; and waiving the confidentiality of communications with the parenting coordinator. The appeal also dealt with the confidentiality of the Mother’s communication with her own individual therapist. The Father, through his attorney, consented to the trial court’s order being overturned. The appeals court treated that as a “confession of error” and based on that “vacated” the trial court’s order and

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Video-Conferences, and Florida Time-Sharing (Part II)

In Part I of this post, I discussed some tech developments that may end up making video-calling with children a more common form of communication during Florida time-sharing, and some potential disadvantages. If the issue is the best interests of the child – what is best for children here? Is it better for children to have more contact and connection with the other parent and a sense of their relationship with their other parent being very much present during time-sharing, or better for time-sharing with each parent to be more separate time, and for the child to experience it as separate time with more of a boundary, for lack of a better term? There’s been a focus recently on “empirically based” parenting plans – i.e. making time-sharing decisions based on what psychologists and research indicate is best for children. This is probably an area where input from experts will help,

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Video-Conferences, and Florida Time-Sharing

There were some tech announcements recently that I think eventually may lead to changes in parents’ contact with their children during time-sharing time with the other parent. You may have heard that Google announced it’s new service, Google+. One of the key features is easy to use webcam conferencing built into Google. Not to long after Google’s announcement, Facebook announced that it had purchased Skype and was offering video conferencing as well. There is an interesting “podcast” here about Google+ with some of the Google developers on the show, via a Google+ video conference to illustrate the technology. Video-calls aren’t anything new. Parents have already been using video to stay in touch with children during time-sharing, and it’s not a new topic in family law commentary, blogs etc. Also, references to parents communicating with their children via video/webcams are already in Florida time-sharing statutes (e.g. F.S. § 61.046(5) and F.S.

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Charlie Sheen, Custody and Florida Time-Sharing

It’s been reported pretty widely in the press recently that the Court in the Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller custody dispute, did not grant Mr. Sheen’s request to change custody of the couple’s children (Chicago Sun-Times report). A point to remember for Florida parents involved in time-sharing cases, is that parents in Florida cases can request the court to change or enter a temporary time-sharing and parental responsibility order while their divorce case is pending. The request can be made as part of a divorce petition or by a motion filed after the petition. The Judge can enter a temporary order specifying what time-sharing will be, can order a parent to undergo a mental health or substance abuse evaluation if there is concern about the well-being of a child while he or she is with one of the parents – the court has a lot of power and discretion when

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