Florida parents have two different options when it comes to reaching agreements about how to share custody of their kids. They can broker a deal among themselves whether alone or with the help of a mediator. If they can’t work out a resolution among themselves, then Florida parents can litigate their custody cases in front of a judge. A court has to sign off on any parenting agreement. Penalties including criminal charges may be assessed if a parent violates a parenting order. One Florida mom learned this the hard way this past week.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) put out a Missing Child Alert for two 7-year-old Washington County twin sisters just after school let out on the afternoon of Jan. 14. The FDLE gave a physical description of the girls and noted that they were perhaps in the company of their 39-year-old mother and traveling in her blue 2020 Nissan Altima. The FDLE also provided the Chipley address where the three had last been seen. The state agency asked for the public’s help in tracking the trio down.
It wasn’t long until police tracked the girls and their mother down in Jackson County. It’s then that the Missing Child Alert was canceled. The girls’ mother is now in police custody.
Florida Statute 787.03(1) describes what is considered as the crime of interference with child custody. Any parent who intentionally and unlawfully interferes with a guardian or parent’s custodial rights can be charged with this criminal offense.
If there’s one thing that you should know, it’s to avoid violating any custody orders. You could expose yourself to legal liability if you do. If you suspect that your child is in immediate harm, then it’s best to consult law enforcement, the Florida Department of Children and Families and your family lawyer immediately instead of taking action that may put your parental rights and freedom in jeopardy.
An attorney can help you request a temporary judicial order in your Fort Myers case and advise you of other legal remedies that you may be able to pursue.