Florida Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals Florida Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum Florida Products Divorce by County
Florida Statutes, Chapter 39 is the law on “proceedings relating to children.” Three areas of concern are identified in the statute: child abuse, child abandonment or neglect of a child. Often the legal definitions can be confusing to the public and child service agencies are bound by confidentiality in specific cases.
A common statement one hears frequently is: “It has gotten to where you can’t spank your child.” In all fairness, there has been some confusion in law as to what is defined as discipline and there are many questions. Florida Statutes, Chapter 39.01 (2) does specifically state that, “Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child.” So the questions to consider are: Is the discipline using only the hand or does it include using a belt, switch, or hair brush? What is the nature and extent of the injury, if any? Is the discipline the same as an angry attack? Were there resulting marks or bruises? Were these bruises or marks significant?
As to the issue of abandonment, another common statement is “I only left my child with grandparent/friend while I was having financial hardship.” Did the parent leave the third party authorization to address the child’s school and medical concerns? Has the parent made any financial contributions to the child’s care? How long is the child left with relatives or friends? Did the parent maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child?
“I just left a few dirty dishes in the sink.” This is a question of neglect. Most often people think of failure to provide adequate food and shelter but neglect is not just a dirty house. Does the child have sufficient food? Does the child have adequate clothing? If not, was the parent offered and declined related social services? Has this deprivation caused the child’s development to be impaired? Has the parent provided medical and dental care? Is the child missing numerous days of school because of the inability of the parents to provide care?
Child abuse is sometimes a difficult topic to discuss but it is critical for the community to be aware of the issues. To report abuse call 1-800-96-ABUSE.
All Florida divorcing spouses who have children must complete a Parent Education and Family Stabilization class before a divorce will be granted by the court. This parenting class is mandatory because it helps to minimize the emotional trauma of the divorce on the children. Each parent must independently complete the course before the divorce enters the court. They must provide the court with a certificate of completion to prove the obligation has been met.
Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Established in 1996
© 1996 - 2021 Divorce Source, Inc. All Rights Reserved.