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Defendan Claims Court Lacks Subject Matter Jurisdiction


The petitioner of the case is the father and the respondent in the case is the Department of Children and Families. The lawyer for the petitioner is Kathleen K. Pena from the Law Office of Kathleen K. Pena. The lawyers for the respondent are Charles J. Crist, Jr., The Attorney General, and Lori R. Shapiro, the Assistant Attorney General of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The judge for the case is J. Klein.

Petitioner’s Case

The petitioner in this particular case is seeking a petition for writ of prohibition for one of his children, T.S. He states that the state of Florida does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter of T.S., his child. The petitioner states that he should be granted the petition based on the Uniform Custody Jurisdiction Act, section 61.514 in the Florida Statutes. He states that as the child, T.S. was not born while they resided in Florida, the state does not have proper jurisdiction to handle this particular case.

Case History

A New York Custody Lawyer said that the petitioner and his wife lived in Florida along with their two other children before T.S. was born. The couple left the state after child sexual abuse charges were filed against the father in 1994 and dependency proceedings began. The family could not be located after they left the state and were finally found living in New York in 2002. T.S. was born during this time frame. The child has not been to Florida in the past and has resided in New York.

The father of T.S. is now incarcerated and awaiting trial in Florida. All of the children have been removed from the mother’s custody and are now in Florida as well. T.S. has never lived in Florida and was only sent to the state because of a mistake in the paper work that was filed and stated his address as being in Jamaica Queens, Florida.

Respondent’s Argument

The respondents in the case argue that the trial court does have jurisdiction in this case under section 61.514 of the Florida Statutes that authorize the state to exercise jurisdiction over the child if New York is not the child’s home state or if the state of New York declines jurisdiction and Florida is considered the more appropriate setting for the case.

Case Discussion/Verdict

The facts that have been provided to the court state that T.S. has never been to Florida before this time. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that in addition, he would not have been brought to the state of Florida except for the mistake in the paperwork. The only way for Florida to have jurisdiction in this case is if there is no other home state of the child or if the home state of the child has declined to exercise their jurisdiction because the state of Florida is considered the more appropriate forum for the case.

There has been no information provided to the court that shows that New York has declined their right to jurisdiction in the matter. For this reason, at this point in the proceedings, we grant the writ of prohibition to the father. A Queens Family Lawyer said it was determined that Florida does not have the subject matter jurisdiction in the case of T.S.

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