Divorce is never easy. It becomes particularly difficult when it's a high-profile divorce. Having the public watch an intensely private, personal matter play out in the news is tough on the parties involved. Such is the case with a Florida Democratic congressman whose wife of 23 years recently filed for divorce.
In standard divorce cases with children involved, custody is a matter that is discussed and then determined by the courts. Child custody presents a more complex issue when the matter is not an issue of divorce but of parental crime.
When parents with children go through the divorce process, attorneys for both parties may encourage them to develop a parenting plan together. The goal is to avoid constant bickering about child custody and visitation. Sometimes it works; other times, not so much.
A Florida judge unexpectedly ordered a mother to place her homeschooled children into a public school during a divorce hearing even though child custody and the children's education had not been placed in issue. The divorcing parents were in court on another issue when the children's guardian ad litem -- a person appointed by the court to represent the children's best interests --told the judge that she did not believe it was in the children's best interests for them to be homeschooled.
A South Florida judge recently ruled that a child custody dispute between a mother who is a member of a local Indian tribe and a non-Indian father should be heard in state court rather than in tribal court. The two parents were never married, but had two children together and had lived together for several years. When they separated, the mother was granted temporary custody of the children in tribal court.
When two people who share a child no longer live together, it's not uncommon for one parent to worry about how their child is doing when he or she is staying with the other parent. One Florida man, however, could never have imagined the plight his child was in when police informed him that his son was living in filth, and the child's mother had been arrested and faced criminal charges of child neglect.
Sometimes an egg donor is a lot more than just an egg donor. The Florida Supreme Court recently granted joint custody and visitation rights to a lesbian woman who donated an egg to her partner, only to see the woman run off to Australia with the couple's daughter three years later. In a groundbreaking decision, the justices rejected the birth mother's claim to full child custody rights based on a Florida law that denies parental rights to egg and sperm donors.
Custody battles come in many forms. Some end relatively painlessly, while others drag on for years and involve large amounts of court time. But few span multiple continents and involve both parents fleeing with the child involved. Those are the facts of a case before the Ohio Supreme Court.
A Fort Myers woman is being charged after taking her daughter during a supervised visit. The young girl, who has special needs, was supposed to be in foster care. When the woman arrived at the facility for a court-ordered visit, she fled out the back door with her daughter. She is now facing criminal charges.
Many Fort Meyers residents have high school-aged children who are preparing for college. These days, with college tuition rates the way that they are, most Florida students do need to take out student loans and/or seek grants and scholarships. A lot of Florida families may not realize that a divorce will affect their children's financial aid processes.