Florida Supreme Court approved forms:
Florida Supreme Court Modification Package
Children's rights and equal parental rights activists have been active throughout the Country. These activists voices have been heard by our courts around the country. Below are some of the cases cited by Frank Amsalem in his own personal custody dispute which are a fruit of these activists work. These cases are cited for reference purposes only and they may or may not apply to your particular case. Frank Amsalem is no longer a licensed attorney and he cannot and does not provide any legal advice. We strongly suggest that you consult a licensed attorney.
Troxel et vir. v Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 120 S.Ct. 2054 (2000): "[I]t cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children."
Clarke v. Clarke, 687 So.2d 1327 (Fla. App. 3 Dist., 1997): "[A] parent has a legal right to enjoy the custody and companionship of her or his minor children, unless clear and convincing evidence shows that such custody will be detrimental to the child's welfare."
IN THE MATTER OF JAMES J. MILLER AND JANET S. TODD, NH Supreme Court, Opinion Issued: March 31, 2011: "“Across the country, the great weight of authority holds that conduct by
one parent that tends to alienate the child’s affections from the other is so inimical to the child’s welfare as to be grounds for a denial of custody to, or a
change of custody from, the parent guilty of such conduct.” Renaud v. Renaud, 721 A.2d 463, 465-66 (Vt. 1998). “[A] child’s best interests are plainly furthered
by nurturing the child’s relationship with both parents, and a sustained course of conduct by one parent designed to interfere in the child’s relationship with
the other casts serious doubt upon the fitness of the offending party to be the custodial parent.” Id. at 466. As we have recognized, “the obstruction by a
custodial parent of visitation between a child and the noncustodial parent may, if continuous, constitute behavior so inconsistent with the best interests of the
child as to raise a strong possibility that the child will be harmed.” Webb v. Knudson, 133 N.H. 665, 673 (1990); see also In the Matter of Kosek & Kosek,
151 N.H. 722, 728 (2005).
In addition, many courts have held that unfounded allegations of sexual abuse made by one parent can be grounds for granting custody to the other parent. See, e.g., Young v. Young, 628 N.Y.S.2d 957, 962 (App. Div. 1995); Hartman v. Hartman, 621 N.E.2d 917, 920 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993), appeal denied,
631 N.E.2d 708 (Ill. 1994); Mack-Manley v. Manley, 138 P.3d 525, 531 (Nev. 2006); Turner v. Turner, 689 N.Y.S.2d 269, 270 (App. Div. 1999).
In Beekman v. Beekman, 645 N.E.2d 1332, 1336 (Ohio Ct. App. 1994), the court reasoned: Although a court grants one parent custody and the other
visitation, the children need to know that they are loved by both parents regardless of the antagonism the parents might feel for each other. It is the duty of each parent to foster and encourage the child’s love and respect for the other parent, and the failure
from that duty is as harmful to the child as is the failure to provide food, clothing, or shelter. Perhaps it is more harmful because no
matter how well fed or well clothed, a child cannot be happy if he or she feels unloved by one parent.
When a court makes a custodial decision, it makes a presumption that the circumstances are such that the residential parent will promote both maternal and paternal affection. The
residential parent implicitly agrees to foster such affection, not out of any good feeling toward the nonresidential parent, but out of the need of the child for both parent’s love. Where the evidence shows that after the initial decree the residential parent is not living up to the court’s presumption and is attempting to poison the relationship between the ex-spouse and the child, this is a change of circumstances that warrants a modification of the prior custody decree. Unsubstantiated allegations of abuse are the worst kind of
poisoning of the relationship.""
S.M. v. R.M., 82 So.3d 163 ( Fla. App., 2012): " The investigator testified that, based on his observations, the child was suffering maltreatment and mental injury while in the mother's custody. The investigator stated that the parental alienation alleged in this case was “beyond anything that any of us have ever seen.” The court asked the investigator what the Department did to protect the child based on his findings. The investigator testified that he wanted to remove the child and presented the case to a Department attorney for review. According to the investigator, however, the attorney responded that the Department could not remove the child because the mental injury already occurred and because the family court proceeding vested jurisdiction in Broward County. The mother objected on hearsay grounds. The judge overruled the objection.
Then, approximately ten to fifteen minutes into the hearing's allotted two hours, and without the judge giving the mother any opportunity to be heard, the following exchange occurred:
Judge: It is this court's opinion that the primary responsibility for the safety of children, until there is a court hearing, lies in the Department of Children and Families. And that responsibility cannot be abdicated to a family court, and just for the reason of what happened in this case ... that judges get recused, judges change, and hearings get postponed.
Judge: [The Department has] an independent duty to file a dependency action.
Investigator: I will do so immediately if you ask me to, Your Honor.
Judge: Absolutely. It is a dependency. It doesn't belong in family court."
HOFFMAN v. FOLEY, 541 So.2d 145 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1989): "There is competent and substantial evidence to support a conclusion that: (1) the father was prevented from making child-support payments for five years because of the mother's act of concealment; (2) an action was not commenced until an additional two years after the mother had made known the child's whereabouts; (3) the mother at all times during the seven-year period knew where to find her former husband; and (4) the father suffered prejudice because he was prevented from exercising his legal rights to visitation or to change of custody due to his lack of knowledge of the child's whereabouts. Either equitable principle, laches or estoppel, when applied to the facts, supports the judgment.”
South Dade Farms, Inc. v. Peters , 88 So.2d 891 ( Fla. 1956): "[T]he power to punish for contempt … is a necessary and integral part of the judicial power, and is absolutely essential to the performance of the duties imposed by law upon courts of equity. Without it, such courts are mere boards of arbitration, whose judgments and decrees are only advisory.” “ If a party can make himself a judge of the validity of orders which have been issued for the protection of property rights, and by his own act of disobedience can set them aside, then are the courts impotent, and what the Constitution of the state ordains as the judicial power becomes a mere mockery.”
Habie v. Habie , 654 So.2d 1293 (Fla. 4 th DCA 1995): “civil compensatory contempt result from the inherent power of a court of equity to assess damages in favor of an injured party to be paid by a party violating a decree.”
Khalifa v. Shannon , 945 A.2d 1244, 404 Md. 107 ( Md. App., 2008): Court of Appeals of Maryland upholding a jury awarding a father “$1,000,000 in compensatory damages and $2,000,000 in punitive damages for a mother's and grand-mother's intentional interference with the father's custodial rights.
Kessel v. Leavitt, 511 S.E.2d 720, 204 W.Va. 95 ( W.Va., 1998): West Virginia Supreme Court upholding a jury awarding a father $2,000,000 in compensatory damages and $5.85 million in punitive damages for a mother's intentional interference with the father's custodial rights.
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I will try to update this website regularly so that I can share new discoveries and experiences with other pro se litigants. Your support is greatly appreciated.