April 19, 2013 ·
By Mike Gora
Q: My former husband and I have been divorced for over seven years. Our daughter is now ten years old. When we were divorced, we both lived here. He has since moved to Los Angeles because another company bought out his company.
does very well financially. I have re-married; have a five-year-old son, and a new husband who is getting tired of spending a small fortune every year for my legal fees that become necessary because my “Ex” is a jerk when it comes to these issues.
since my re-marriage, which for some reason, seemed to re-energize my former husband’s hatred for me, even though he ended the marriage by not understanding the meaning of the word monogamy, and “sleeping” with his secretary, who he later married.
He chooses to torture me by inventing issues over child issues and the visitation schedule, which we adopted in our settlement agreement. So far, we have had to go back to court on the average of twice a year, for emergency and non-emergency matters. He, unilaterally, twice kept our daughter longer than the visitation period as “make up time” for time he missed because of his own business commitments.
Another time he kept her over because he claimed that he her new best friend in California, was having a big birthday party that she did not want to miss. On two more occasions, he wanted to pick her up early to accommodate his work schedule. When I refused, he filed papers.
One another occasion he fought against my wish to have our daughter enrolled in a private school, instead of public school, to be paid for my new husband’s generosity.
My Ex has never won any of the hearings that he caused over these shared parental responsibility issues, but seems to relish dragging me to court. The judges who have heard the case all seem disinterested, and blame both of us for a “lack of communication and cooperation.
After each of the hearings, my attorney has asked for fee awards. In each case, they were denied. Is there anything that I can do to stop the Ex from this costly nonsense?
A: Under Florida law, except in most unusual circumstances, divorced parents are directed by their settlement agreements or final judgment after a trial, to abide by the concept of shared parental responsibility.
The statute and case law makes it clear that shared parental responsibility means that the parents should cooperate with one anther in the raising of the child, or children in every way. They share all decision-making responsibilities regard health, education, welfare, religious decisions and every other decision in child raising other than day to day minutia.
Clearly, in order to accomplish these goals there must be continuing good faith communication between the parents, and a great deal of flexibility by both. Of course, if the parents could communicate effectively and be flexible with one another they might have never divorced.
The family court division of the Florida courts is overburdened, and, therefore resentful, of what is perceived as petty, expensive arguments. Judges frequently have a hard time focusing on the cause of the problems, and blame both parents. Thus, the judges are not helpful in ending these wars.
To change any “circular” failure to communicate new elements have to be injected. Perhaps some therapy, perhaps bringing both your new husband and his new wife into direct involvement in the communication would help.
Do not rely on the court system to solve these on going problems; it is not equipped to do so. Some men and some women stubbornly want to get the last word when it comes to raising their children.
When they, their parents, or their new spouse has the money and the will to take money, douse it with alcohol and set it on fire it is likely that both parents will lose. They will lose the money and, eventually, the respect of their children who will, sooner or later, understand what has been going on.
Michael H. Gora, Boca Raton Divorce Attorney, has been certified by the Board of Specialization of The Florida Bar as a specialist in family and matrimonial law, and is a partner with Shapiro Blasi Wasserman & Gora P.A. in Boca Raton.
By Online Staff