Legal Question in Family Law in Florida


I recently learned of a case where a mom now 28 years old living in South America had a child with an individual who is both a citizen of that South American country and a naturalized U.S. citizen. Some time after the relationship fell apart, the father was a resident of Florida but took occasional trips to South America. The father at some point was arrested for drug trafficking, is now on parole and unable to return to South America.

According to the mom at some point the dad and his family, based in Florida had filed and received U.S. passport for the daughter who is now 8 years old. The Mom says around that timeframe she was asked to sign some documents that at the time she didn't understand, but she now believes may have been documents giving custody to the dad and his family.

She is now receiving weekly high-pressure phone calls from the dad and his family requesting that she send the 8-year old to Florida for the Summer. She says she is certain that the child will not be returned to Belize if she goes to Florida. The dad and family says this is not the case but she is concerned she has no recourse and no financial means to contest this if in fact the kid is not returned before school reopens in September.

She says she has no knowledge of the dad or his family's living environment in Florida and there is no way she will send an 8-year old girl into the unknown. The dad calls the child every 2 weeks or so and sporadically sends a few dollars of child support. So the stalemate is, the dad can't come to South America to see the child and the Mom doesn't feel comfortable sending the child for a visit. Is the Mom justified in not sending the child to the U.S. and what legal rights/recourse does she have?

Asked on 7/01/13, 8:14 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Smitten Carey and Leisure

If she refuses to allow the child to go to FL, then the father really has no recourse. FL does not have jurisdiction over the case. I need to review the custody documents that you are referring to in the order.

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Answered on 7/01/13, 1:19 pm

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