Question from Kelly, How Can I Request Child Visitation for the Holidays?
Answer from AI:
If you haven’t seen your children in a while and Christmas is approaching, you may be considering legal action to ensure you can spend time with them during the holidays. In Florida, as in many jurisdictions, there are specific steps you can take to address child custody and visitation issues.
Filing a Motion for Temporary Time-Sharing Modification
Filing a motion with the court is typically the first step to request a change or enforcement of visitation rights. This is known as a Motion for Temporary Time-Sharing Modification or a Motion to Establish or Modify Parenting Plan and Time-Sharing Schedule. Here’s what you generally need to do:
- Prepare the motion, clearly stating the reasons for your request and the specific time-sharing schedule you are proposing for the holiday period.
- File the motion with the clerk of the court where your original child custody order was issued.
- Serve the other parent with a copy of the motion, following the rules for service of process in Florida.
- Request an expedited hearing, given the time-sensitive nature of the request.
Requesting an Expedited Hearing
Given that Christmas is only two weeks away, you may need to request an expedited hearing to have your motion heard as soon as possible. Courts often recognize the importance of holiday time-sharing and may be willing to schedule a quicker hearing for such matters. However, the ability to get a hearing before Christmas will depend on the court’s schedule and the urgency of the situation.
What to Expect at the Hearing
If you are granted a hearing, you should be prepared to present your case to the judge. This may include:
- Explaining the current custody arrangement and why you have not seen your children.
- Providing evidence that supports your request for holiday visitation.
- Showing that spending time with you is in the best interests of the children.
The other parent will also have the opportunity to respond to your motion and present their side of the story.
Legal Advice and Assistance
It’s important to note that family law can be complex, and the success of your motion may depend on various factors, including your past involvement with your children and any previous court orders. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you consult with a family law attorney to help you navigate the process and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
If you cannot afford an attorney, you may want to explore self-help resources provided by the Florida Courts, such as the Family Law Self-Help Information. These resources can guide you through the process of filing a motion and preparing for a hearing.
While you can take steps to request holiday visitation with your children, there is no guarantee that a hearing can be scheduled before Christmas, or that your motion will be granted. Acting quickly and seeking legal advice is crucial to improving your chances of spending the holidays with your children. Remember, each case is unique, and the information provided here is general in nature. For personalized advice, please consult with a legal professional.