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A Trial Judge Cannot Delegate its Authority Over Time Sharing to Therapists

Never a truer statement has been made then “the buck stops here”, when dealing with time sharing issues in a divorce case.  What this means is that the judge must have the final word in all issues which affect minor children, and he does not have the legal authorization to delegate that responsibility to any third party, including a therapist.

The animosity between parents can lead to difficult situations with their minor children.  When a parent’s anger adversely affects the minor children, that particular parent may end up with restricted contact with their minor children.  When one parent suffers from anxiety or depression, their behavior may have adverse effects on their children.  In either one of these scenarios, a therapist might be called in to intervene, and make recommendations to the court as to future prospects for time sharing, if a parents rights have been temporarily restricted.

In Grigsby v. Grigsby, 39 So 3rd 453 (Florida 2nd DCA 2010), the mother suffered a suspension of her time sharing with her children.  The trial court failed to delineate what was required of the mother in order to reestablish her time sharing.   As a result of the trial court’s failure to delineate, the decision was reversed on appeal.

The Grigsby court then went on to state that the court must give the parent the key to reconnecting with his or her children, and that an order that does not set forth the specific steps a parent must take to reestablish time-sharing is deficient because it prevents the parent from knowing what is expected and prevents any successor judge from monitoring the parent’s progress.   A similar ruling was made in the case of Perez v. Fay, 160 So 3rd 459 (Florida 2nd DCA 2015).

Your children are the most important people in your life.  Whenever your divorce case involves minor children, and high conflict between the parents, you need the services of a calm attorney capable of diffusing the tension between the parents.  Alan R. Burton, a Boca Raton divorce attorney with over 35 years of experience has the appropriate demeanor in cases with high conflict.  Call him today and 954-295-9222 for a free consultation.