Friday, May 25, 2012

Freedom of Speech?

This is not really a family law topic, but I found it interesting anyway.

A man from Sanford, Florida was ticketed by local police for flashing his car's headlights to warn passing traffic that police were nearby with their radar guns. He was charged with violating a state statute that prohibits the flashing of after-market vehicle lights (i.e. fog lights,...).

The trial judge dismissed the case and stated: (1) the state statute did not apply to him since he was flashing his factory installed headlights, and (2) his headlight flashing to warn oncoming traffic is speech protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Good for him!

Jacksonville Divorce& Family Law Attorney

Monday, May 14, 2012


Florida Statute 61.13001 contains various requirements that a parent must comply with before relocating a child more than 50 miles from a current residence. Occasionally, a potential move is very close to the 50 mile mark. A recent case from Florida's 5th district Court of Appeals held that distance is calculated "as the crow flies" (by a straight line from point A to point B) rather than by the distance that would be driven in a car. Tucker v. Liebnecht, 5D11-681 (Fla 5th DCA May 4, 2012).

For more information on relocation, contact the Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Waiving Parental Rights in Florida

Another question that seems to come up over and over is the waiver of parental rights. Can a biological parent "sign away" their rights?

Often I receive phone calls from a mother who doesn't want her child's father involved with the child. The mother is willing to waive child support if the father would sign away his rights to the child. Others call wanting to know if such an agreement is valid.

These agreements are invalid. A parent may not simply "waive" his (or her) parental rights. The Courts in Florida have long held that "agreements relieving a parent of the duty to support [i.e. pay child support] are void as against public policy. The rights of support and meaningful relationship belong to the child, not the parent; therefore, neither parent can bargain away those rights ... [A] total abdication of parental responsibility ..... cannot be said to protect the best interests of the child." Bassett v Saunders, 835 So. 2d 1198, 1200 (Fla App., 2002).

The main (and perhaps only) exception to this rule occurs during a step-parent adoption. In such a case, the Courts find that such an "abdication of parental responsibility" would be in the child's best interest - because there is a person to take the place of the biological parent.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer.