Modification of Child Custody in Contempt and Enforcement Proceedings is Reversed

Florida Husband and Wife have Children together.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Florida family court awards Husband primary residential custody of Children.

It appears that Husband may not be entirely cooperative with Wife’s exercise of visitation after their divorce.

Wife seeks and obtains from the Florida family court several different orders for enforcement of her visitation and holding Husband in contempt of court for his failure to comply with the Court’s orders for timesharing with Wife. The Florida family court also awards Wife significant compensatory visitation or makeup timesharing.

Because of Husband’s obstinacy, the Florida family court, without an evidentiary hearing, ultimately modifies custody of the Children to grant Wife primary residential custody of the Children. Without even having been asked to do so.

The court makes no written findings of fact in support of its ruling.

Husband appeals the modification of Children’s custody. On appeal, an intermediate level appellate court reverses for the following reasons.

  1. It is well-established here in Florida that children should not be punished due to their parent’s violation of court orders, or other misdeeds.

  2. Further, contempt proceedings are to enforce compliance with previous court orders. Not to modify custody. Especially not where the parent seeking enforcement has not put the other parent on formal notice that they are even looking to modify custody.

  3. And last, but not least, the Florida family court did not make any express findings that modification of custody would be in the best interests of the Children.

Read more in the Florida court’s appellate opinion reversing the modification of child custody in contempt proceedings.