Tampa, FL Family Law Questions and Answers
This is a question that comes up fairly often in our area of practice. What do I do when one party has not complied with a Final Judgment that is child related? For example, when one party is not making his/her child support payments on time, or if they are not complying with a court ordered Parenting Plan. To begin, it is always best (and encouraged), to always engage in conflict resolution. Let's say that a parent has missed a child support payment. Take it upon yourself, to inquire as to why that payment was missed (assuming that there is not an I.W.O. in place). Perhaps the parent forgot, something came up, or they may be dealing with financial hardships (COVID-19) that make it very difficult to meet their child support obligation. It is always encouraged to try to resolve the issue with the other parent before going to Court. The same applies with any issues regarding timesharing. If a parent has missed an exchange or two, reach out to the other parent and inquire as to why the timesharing visit was missed. More importantly, it's good to have documentation to show the judge you were acting reasonably, prior to filing your motion for contempt of Court.
The appellate court reversed a trial court order temporarily giving former husband custody of the spouses’ minor child after finding that former wife was denied due process. Disputes between the spouses under an earlier time-sharing order prompted former husband to move for enforcement, contempt, and psychological evaluations. He also petitioned for modification of the time-sharing order. Former wife opposed the motions and moved to dismiss the petition. The motions were set for hearing but the petition was not. The trial court did not find former wife in contempt nor did it find a psychological evaluation was necessary; nevertheless, it ordered a temporary change in residence from former wife to former husband. An order adjudicating issues not presented by the pleadings or noticed to the parties denies fundamental due process and constitutes reversible error. The appellate court noted that a change in residence is “not an analysis of whether the new home would be better—there must be a determination of ‘significant inadequacy in the care provided by the custodial parent’”.