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Time-Sharing FAQs

When my divorce was finalized the court only put in the paperwork 'liberal access' on the issue of visitation. What does that mean? My Ex shows up whenever they want to and expects to be able to take the kids and it is causing a problem. How can I change this?

Your first step is to attempt mediation to see if both parties can come to an agreement about a visitation schedule. Mediation is required as the first step. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, then you may purchase a packet for a Supplemental Petition to Modify Custody/Visitation and have the other party served with the papers. The packet and Self-Help Instructions or you may be access the forms online.  


My girlfriend won't let me visit with my child. I'm willing to pay child support, but I want to be able to see my child. What can I do?

You may file a Petition to Establish Paternity and for Related Relief. You can ask the court to establish that you are the biological father of the child and ask for visitation. You may purchase a packet in the Court Business Center/Copy Center,6th Floor, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse, or you may access the form online. For a nominal fee you may contact the Department of Revenue, who will help you to establish paternity.  


The Hearing Officer ordered me to pay child support, yet I do not have visitation rights with my child. What can I do?

The Hearing Officer only has the authority to address the issues of support. If you want to address any other issues with the court, you must file a petition asking the court for what you want. There are Family Law Supreme Court forms available in the Court Business Center/Copy Center,6th Floor, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse or you may access the forms online. You may want to see if any of those forms will help you to accomplish your goal.


My grandchild's parents will not let me see him/her. What can I do? Don't grandparents have any rights?

The Florida Supreme Court recently made a ruling regarding grandparents' rights. You should seek the advice of an attorney about that ruling and how it has affected those rights before filing anything with the court.

I don't care for the way my daughter is taking care of her child and I want to take custody. She and her spouse were divorced in Hillsborough County. How can I get custody?

If either parent is not in agreement to giving you custody it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney to find out what your legal rights are before proceeding. If there is abuse, abandonment and/or neglect involving the child please contact the Department of Children & Families.  

 

My Ex has legal custody of my child but the child is living with me. I want to get custody. How do I accomplish that?

 

 

If both parties agree, a new custody agreement may be written up in Mediation. If both parties do not agree, you must attempt mediation as your first step. If mediation does not work you may obtain a Modification of Custody Packet from the Court Business Center/Copy Center,6th Floor, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse or may access the form online.

I want to set a court date to get custody of my child because I know my spouse will not attempt mediation. Why can’t I just set a court date?

Mediation is a required step in all cases where parties are not in agreement. You must attempt to bring the other party in your case to mediation before a General Master or Judge will hear your case.

My daughter/son left for the military and left her/his child in my custody. I need to obtain a court order to enroll her in school. How do I do that?

You may obtain forms entitled “Temporary Custody”. This procedure may be used when both parents are in agreement with the custody arrangement. However, if both parents are not in agreement it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney before you proceed with a case.  

My child's father keeps threatening to take my baby away. I want permanent custody. What do I need to do?

If you are married, both parents have equal "custody" rights to the children, unless and until there is some court action to the contrary. If you and the father of the child were never married and there is no court order establishing paternity, either party can file a Petition to Establish Paternity and address the issue of custody in that petition. A Paternity packet may be purchased in the Court Business Center/Copy Center,6th Floor, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse or you may access the form online. It is recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney to see exactly what your legal rights and remedies are.  

My boyfriend took my child and will not give him/her back to me. I called the Sheriff, but they said there is nothing they can do because I don't have a custody order. What can I do?

If you want to file for custody of the child, you can Petition the court to Establish Paternity and ask for custody. A Paternity packet is available in the Court Business Center/Copy Center,6th Floor, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse or you may access the form online. You should seek the advice of an attorney to find out what your immediate rights and remedies are.  

I tried to pick my child up from visiting his/her grandparents and they won't give him/her back. What can I do?

You should talk to an attorney to see what steps you need to do in order to get the child returned to you.

My spouse just picked my children up for visitation and left the state without my permission. He kidnapped them! The police won't help me and I can't afford an attorney. What can I do?

If you think your child has been kidnapped you should contact the Office of the State Attorney or local police. If you know where your child has been taken you will probably have to go to court there and show your Florida judgment giving you custody of your child. You may want to look at what Florida Family Law forms are available to see if any of them will help you to accomplish your goal. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney.  

I'm under 18, and I got my girlfriend pregnant. Now I've found out that her mother is planning to take my baby out of the state after it is born and put it up for adoption. I disagree with her decision, I want my child. What can I do to stop her?

As a minor you cannot file a lawsuit. However, you may have one of your parents or guardians file on your behalf. It is strongly recommended that you and your parent or guardian seek the advice of an attorney.  


I have a custody order from another state. My spouse took our child to Florida without my permission. How can I get my out-of-state order enforced?

You must petition the court to recognize your out-of-state order and open a case with Hillsborough County. You will need to file a certified copy of your out-of-state order. There are no standard forms available to do that. You may pick up a blank petition from the Case Management Unit located at the Edgecomb Courthouse in room 208 or you may access the form online.

These forms are confusing. I don't understand some of the words. Can someone help me fill them out?

 

 

If you need assistance filling out a form you may want to visit the Legal Information Center located in Room 203 of the Edgecomb Courthouse. The Legal Information Center is a free program to provide information to people who are representing themselves in family law, landlord/tenant, or small claims cases in Hillsborough County. For Further information please go to the Legal Information Center. If you do not understand any forms or procedures in your case, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney.

How do I know which General Magistrate or Hearing Officer my case is assigned to?

Please view the General Magistrate / Hearing Officer Division Referral Assignment Table by clicking this link.


What is the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course?

Pursuant to Section 61.21, Florida Statutes, each party who is the natural or legal parent of any minor child whose parental responsibility and/or timesharing is directly affected by the action must attend and successfully complete an approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course.

"In-Person Classroom Instruction" Requirement: Please note that each party must attend "in-person classroom instruction" of an approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Parties unable to attend "in-person classroom instruction" due to special circumstances may, after receiving prior court approval, attend an approved course through the internet or through correspondence. To obtain prior court approval a party must file a motion with the court seeking to waive the "in-person classroom instruction" requirement. A waiver of the "in-person classroom instruction" requirement will only be granted upon the demonstration of "special circumstances" which prevent a party's "in-person classroom instruction" attendance at an approved course. However, an out-of-state party OR a party who is a state resident and whose home county does not offer an approved course with "in person classroom instruction," may elect to take an approved course through the internet or through correspondence without having to file a motion with the court seeking to waive the "in-person classroom instruction" requirement. For more information please click here.