Grandparent Rights via Colorado and Facebook/Cyberstalking

Ledoux-Nottingham v. Downs:  5th DCA, April 2, 2015

The parties lived in Colorado.  Ex-Wife moved to Florida with the minor children shortly after her ex-husband's death.  Ex-husband's parents (paternal grandparents) timely initiated a proceeding in Colorado, seeking visitation with the children (something that is allowed in Colorado but not in Florida).  In 2012 the Colorado court rendered a final order determining that it was in the best interest for the minor children for the Grandparents to have visitation and telephone contact.  Mother, in 2014, moved to domesticate the Colorado in Florida (which does not recognize grandparent visitation rights) and to modify the the Colorado order to remove the grandparent time sharing as not being constitutional and against public policy in Florida.  Domestication was granted but modification was denied.  Mother, on appeal, did not challenge the jurisdiction of the Colorado court to enter its final order or the domestication of the Colorado order pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Instead, Mother argued that the Colorado order in unenforceable as a matter of Florida law and public policy because it violates child rearing autonomy guaranteed to parents under the Florida Constitution.  The 5th DCA affirmed the trial court's decision but also noted conflict with the 4th DCA which has found that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not trump Florida's overriding public policy of a guarantee.  This is the second time the 5th DCA has certified this conflict between the DCAs and may finally result in a Florida Supreme Court decision in the near future.

Horowitz v. Horowitz: 2nd DCA, April 1, 2015

As there was not competent, substantial evidence establishing that wife was a victim of domestic violence or that she was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the trail court's granting of an injunction was reversed.  An analysis of cyberstalking was provided and it was found that posts to Facebook did not constitute cyberstalking as posts were not directed at a specific person under Florida Statutes 784.048(1)(d).  Further, Husband's posts did not "tag" his Wife or mention her explicitly in any way.  While the Wife's assertion that her Facebook account was "hacked" was concerning, said behavior, even if true was not cyberstalking as it is not an electronic communication.  Wife did claim that the posts were a "matter of concern" and "prevented [her] from having any privacy within [her] own home.  However, said statements were conclusory and vague and not sufficient to show that she had been a victim of domestic violence.  Wife also failed to establish that she had a reasonable belief that she was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence as the alleged past incidents of domestic violence occurred 15 years ago.

Posted by Roy Smith on Apr 03rd 2015