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Miami-Based Appellate Court Sides With Brannock & Humphries In Child Custody Dispute

The Third District Court of Appeal rejected an emergency petition today that challenged a Miami-Dade County trial judge’s authority to order a child to remain in Florida during an ongoing dispute over her mother’s relocation to Maryland, embracing arguments raised by Brannock & Humphries on behalf of the child’s father.

The mother and father, who were never married but who co-parent the child, have been engaged in ongoing proceedings involving child support and timesharing issues.  Those proceedings became more contentious when the mother informed the father that she intended to relocate with the child from Miami to a D.C. suburb in Maryland.  The father opposed the relocation but, in the meantime, the mother and child moved and the child attended a year of school in Maryland.  The mother then initiated competing legal proceedings in Maryland, arguing that the Maryland court, as the child’s new state of residence, should decide the support and timesharing issues.

The mother then asked the Florida court to dismiss the father’s case, arguing that Florida lacked jurisdiction now that the child lived in Maryland.  However, the trial court denied the mother’s request and ordered the child, who had been in Florida with her father over the summer, to remain in the state and to begin the school year in Miami while the litigation was sorted out.  The mother sought emergency relief from the Third District, arguing that the Florida judge lacked the authority to proceed with the case.  Brannock & Humphries responded to the petition on an expedited basis and convinced the Third District to deny the mother’s request.