Florida Supreme Court: Sorry we’ve mucked up paternity law for 75 years

The Florida Supreme Court released the long-awaited opinion in Simmonds v. Perkins, holding unanimously that the world of paternity has changed in the last 75 years and courts need to catch up. The case involves a man, Connor Perkins, who was the unquestionably biological father of a child. He raised the child with the mother, […]

Florida case law update: bio fathers granted standing to assert rights

Two Florida district courts issued favorable rulings for biological fathers this month. Both fathers were granted standing and a chance to assert their claim over the objection of the presumptive legal fathers. The Second District permitted a biological father to challenge the paternity of a man on the birth certificate. The court approved of the […]

Attorney: “I don’t have to file a motion for every little thing.” Appellate Court: “Oh really?”

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed an order granting supervised visits yesterday because the trial court entered the order without proper notice to the Department. The opinion is surprisingly long for a simple “no notice, reversed” ruling, and the lone footnote may explain why: 1 In light of the statutory obligations and clear case […]

Two cases out of Florida show the bias against fathers in child welfare

Let’s talk about fathers for a second. One critique of child welfare law is that it puts a significant burden on mothers while essentially ignoring fathers until they become inconvenient. Two cases out of Florida this month highlight this phenomenon. In the first case, twin children were sheltered from their mother due to neglect. The father had […]

Let’s talk about the IL Programs and justice

The Third DCA ruled against our clinic yesterday, holding that access to federal Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) could be restricted by the State through the creation of programs with additional eligibility rules. While I disagree with the reasoning of the Court, I’m writing here about the original source of injustice in this case. Our […]

Florida Supreme Court: no more summary dismissals of private dependency petitions filed by immigrant kids

The Florida Supreme Court issued a 3-1-3 opinion today with the majority ruling in favor of the child and the controlling opinion (i.e, the narrowest reasoning adopted by the most justices) being that trial courts cannot summarily dismiss dependency petitions filed by immigrant children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile status. In doing so, the opinion echos the concerns […]

Florida Supreme Court to immigrant teens: just go away already

The Florida Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the cases of immigrant children pending appeal should be dismissed as moot when they turn 18, even if the lower court erred when the child was still a minor and even if the error prevents the child from applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. In October of 2014, OICL, […]

Fifth DCA essentially declines to follow Florida Supreme Court on ineffective assistance of counsel

The opinion boils down to this: Florida Supreme Court: Trial judges must orally advise a parent of their right to file a motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel after a TPR trial. Mother: The trial judge didn’t advise me, and my trial counsel (who I tried to fire halfway through the trial) didn’t say anything […]

Florida Supreme Court denies review of order limiting parents’ pro se filings

The Florida Supreme Court has declined jurisdiction in a dependency case involving two pro se parents who were limited by the Fourth DCA to filing pleadings only with the signature of a member of the bar. The word “sovereign” occurs in the parents’ jurisdiction brief three times.  The docket, with briefs, is here.