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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 111468
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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My children are scheduled to testify tomorrow in my custody

Customer Question

Good afternoon,
My children are scheduled to testify tomorrow in my custody case. Mother lost primary residential custody August 2015. She has continued to make my life a living hell since then. I filed exceptions to the report and recommendations of GM where she ruled on Mother's Motion to Allow children to testify. Judge has not heard my exceptions.Filed motion to continue testimony and GM denied ex-parte. What can I do now?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
2) Ex-Wife signed up our daughter to 1 week overnight church camp. I advised her of my reservations and asked for specific questions to be answered before I agreed. Ex refused and directed me to the church website. I have contacted the church by phone and email. Pastor did not answer my safety questions. Do I have first right of refusal during the summer if my child will be cared by someone else? My agreement states: "Each parent may choose appropriate care providers for times not to exceed twenty four hours in duration. For times in excess of twenty four hours time the parent who is arranging for the children's care shall offer a right of first refusal to the other parent."
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

Hello. I’m a family lawyer and appellate attorney with 36 years’ experience and also have extensive experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information for educational purposes and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site.

At the end of this discussion I'm going to ask you to please rate me as that's the only way I get credit for my time here today.

Can you please tell me what state you're in? It's not showing up on my side. Thanks so much.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Florida - family law case
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

Thank you -- I knew Family law but I didn't know state, thanks.

Is there a provision in the agreement that discusses what is to happen in the summer?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
This is what I stated in my motion to continue
1. On June 2, 2016, Respondent/Former Husband filed his Exception to the Report of and Recommendation of General Magistrate dated May 23, 2016 pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.490(f) and requested a hearing. See “Exhibit A”.
2. Petitioner/Former Wife filed an Amended Notice of Testimony by Minor Children which is set for June 28, 2016. See “Exhibit B”.
3. An order ratifying and approving the General Magistrates report of May 23, 2016 has not been entered.
4. The Court may not enter an order or take action without considering the timely filed exceptions. Riley v. Riley, 14 So.3d 1284 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009); Werntz v. Floyd, 814 So. 2d 480 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2002).
5. A trial court must hear timely filed exceptions to a magistrate’s report. See Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.490(f); Betz v. Betz, 790 So.2d 1128, 1130 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).
6. Before scheduling a hearing on Respondent’s Exceptions, the Honorable Reemberto Diaz requested a Status Conference, which is set for July 18, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.
7. There is absolutely no prejudice to the Petitioner/Former Wife if this continuance is granted, however there is great prejudice to the Respondent/Former Husband if it is not. It is in the best interest of the children that this case be resolved with all of the facts before the Court, and if Respondent/Former Husband is not granted a continuance until his exceptions are heard, a great injustice will result.
8. This Motion is not being filed to cause delay. It is being filed to ensure that the Respondent/Former Husband has his proper day in Court as does the Petitioner/Former Wife, and that each are on equal footing as it relates to their children.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Summer visitation just states - mother will have 4 weeks visitation.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

Okay thank you so much for that.

Generally speaking, you would be correct that this clause means you have the right of first refusal: For times in excess of twenty four hours time the parent who is arranging for the children's care shall offer a right of first refusal to the other parent."

The problem is that this is during the summer and mother is allowed to have 4 weeks of visitation. She's apparently using 1 week of visitation to sign them up to camp, and I hope she's not expecting you to help pay for it. That was her choice. The summer clause will likely trump the right of first refusal clause -- since this is considered some kind of "camp," the right of first refusal would generally not apply. You can certainly make your objections to it, though, and make it known that you want to know about the safety of your daughter.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Did you see my questions regarding the children testifying?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Makes no sense that I do not have a right as a parent to have a say in where my daughter spends the night just because the mother is exercising her summer visitation.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

Yes, I do see your questions regarding your children testifying. Are you stating that you're clearly opposed to them testifying? I don't see that in your motion to continue. You have custody and she wants them to testify?

I agree that it makes no sense for you to not have a say in where your daughter goes. Are you supposed to have joint decision making or primary decision making? Because if you are, then the mother can't send her there without your consent. If you have joint decision making or sole decision making, she must consult with you.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

I'm just asking for clarification purposes, thanks.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 5 months ago.

I'm going to opt out and have someone more familiar with Fla. procedure finish this for you. Best of luck to you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Camp - We have joint decision making.Children testifying: I filed exceptions to report and recommendation of GM where GM agreed to allow children to testify. Opposing counsel scheduled the children to testify although there is no order ratifying report of GM and my exceptions are still pending to be heard by Judge.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR as your previous contributor left.

How old are the children, since it all depends on age as to whether or not the judge can allow them to testify and whether or not the judge will consider the wishes of the children?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Son is 11, daughter is 13. Mother lives over 200 miles away. She now sees the children every other weekend. I was made primary residential parent in Aug because of her repeated failure to abide by court orders, continued interference with visitation & medicating my son without my consent.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Mother filed Motion to Allow Children to Testify. Heard by GM. I filed exceptions which are still pending. Opposing counsel scheduled testimony for tomorrow although we still do not have order ratifying report of GM. I filed motion to continue based on my pending exceptions and GM denied continuance.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Okay, in order to avoid any issues you need to please tell me what the issue is here, because you still have not said what the specific question was that was not answered. You have made a lot of statements above and saying "what can I do now" is pretty vague, but if you can please narrow your questions down specifically it will avoid a lot of confusion.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
This was my original question: My children are scheduled to testify tomorrow in my custody case. Mother lost primary residential custody August 2015. She has continued to make my life a living hell since then. I filed exceptions to the report and recommendations of GM where she ruled on Mother's Motion toAllow children to testify. Judge has not heard my exceptions.Filed motion to continue testimony and GM denied ex-parte. What can I do now?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
How can I stop my children from testifying tomorrow? I filed exceptions which have not been heard. No order has been entered ratifying the GM report where she entered order agreeing to Mother's Motion to Allow Children to Testify. Opposing counsel scheduled kids testimony anyway. I filed a motion to continue based on the fact that my exceptions havent been heard. GM is still moving forward with testimony tomorrow.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The only way to stop your children tomorrow is you have to prove that they are not mature enough to testify as to their wishes and do not understand the nature of their testimony OR prove that their testimony is influenced by the other parent and as such they will say anything the other parent asks to please that parent. You have to argue that before the court if they do not grant your continuance because of the court not hearing your exceptions.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
GM took the kids in. Didn't speak to me at all. I didn't get to argue my exceptions, etc
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If the GM took their testimony and ignored your exceptions, then you have no choice left other than to appeal.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
That I know. An appeal is not going to erase the stress and mental abuse putting them thru testifying. The point was for me to get an answer before they testified, so that they wouldn't have to endure this ordeal. Thanks for your time. My other question has not been answered.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately, YOUR QUESTION WAS ANSWERED, it is NOT our fault that the GM ignored your exceptions that you filed.
Quite honestly, if you cannot prove they are too immature mentally or not educationally mature you would not stop them from testifying, which is what I said above as well.

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