Child Custody, Domestic Violence, and the Hague Convention

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

When a court is called upon to create a parenting plan and a time-sharing schedule, the court is required to consider the factors found in Florida Statute 61.13(3).

The best interests of the minor children involved in the proceeding should always be the paramount concern of the trial court judge.  One section which should not be overlooked by the judge is found in section 61.13(2)(c)(2).  That section creates a presumption of detriment to the minor children when the parent seeking time-sharing has been convicted of domestic battery upon the other spouse.

The operative word under this particular section of the statute is “presumption”.  A trial judge must inform the party who has been found guilty of domestic violence that it is their burden to overcome the presumption of detriment to the minor children.  Failing to overcome the burden could lead to the denial of shared parental responsibility or any time-sharing.

The case of Matura v. Griffiths discusses in detail the concept of timesharing, parenting plans, and the effect of domestic violence on timesharing and shared parental responsibility.

In the Matura case, the husband was deported to Jamaica based upon his conviction of domestic violence against his wife.  In spite of the fact that he was deported to Jamaica as a result of domestic battery, the trial judge still afforded him the opportunity to have timesharing in Jamaica with his children.

The appellate court promptly reversed the trial court, due in large part to the fact that the trial judge never advised the husband that his domestic battery convictions created the “presumption of detriment” to the minor children. This in turn would have denied him the right to have timesharing, unless he was able to rebut the presumption of “detriment to the children”.  Unfortunately the trial judge never informed the husband of his obligation to rebut the presumption.

Many people are familiar with the Hague convention, which is actually known as the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  This is an international treaty among various countries who have pledged to assist in the return of minor children to their homes.

Jamaica is not a signatory or a party to the Hague convention, which would make it nearly impossible to have a child returned after having been improperly removed to a country which is not a party to the Hague convention.

A combination of domestic violence, along with threats of abduction, coupled with a non-signatory country to the Hague convention could only spell disaster, as found in the Matura case.

Extreme caution must be exercised, and all reasonable and necessary safeguards should be put in place when you are dealing with timesharing between parents residing in different countries.  This is especially true when one parent has demonstrated his or her capacity and propensity to disregard court orders regarding time-sharing and custody.

Talk to an attorney who has over 37 years of experience dealing with marital and family law issues, including familiarity with the Hague convention.  Alan R. Burton is an attorney practicing law in Boca Raton, Florida and is available to consult with you should you have any questions regarding time-sharing, divorce, or other family law related issues.  He can be reached at 954-295-9222.

Client Reviews

Alan R. Burton is a good human being but truly a great lawyer. Alan R. Burton took my very weak case but with his dedication and smartness Alan R. Burton ended up winning it for me and most important Alan R. Burton won the case with 0% tolerance for lies and 100% for truth. I’m simply convinced with...

Amer A.

"Alan Burton represented me on a tough child support case. He was extremely professional, aggressive and ethical in the courtroom. He is very honest and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for any case, no questions asked. Thank you Mr. Burton for all of your help and support through this...

Abigail A.

"As a single working mother of two young children, I totally appreciated Alan's flexibility to E mail and to converse by phone. There were times I could only respond or ask questions regarding my case well after 6 P.M. and Alan always made himself available to suit my schedule. Alan is a single dad...

Stephanie C.

"I give great pleasure in writing this review for Mr. Alan Burton. He was a tremendous help in resolving my foreign divorce/child custody case. Very competent, knowledgeable and always available; day and night. I am located in the Middle East and had a very complicated divorce/child custody case...

David A.

"As any devoted parent who loves their children, imagine the thought of your children being abducted by another parent. The feeling of not knowing if you will ever get them back, the anxiety of court proceedings, and a possible International custody battle. This is something I would never want any...

Stefan B.

Get in Touch

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 40 Years of Experience
  3. 3 Speak Directly to an Attorney
Fill out the contact form or call us at (954) 229-1660 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message