Important Message from the Attorney for Clients with Minor Children

To All of Our Clients,

The following is a general statement from Attorney Peterson regarding this emergency and how it may affect your case:

We know that safety for you and your children is your top priority – as it is ours. In planning, it is important to consider existing court orders that apply to your children and your case – but also understand that the Courts are going to be understanding of emergency responses and actions.

The standing domestic relations order issued by the Court contains restrictions for out-of-state travel and orders of time-sharing specific to your children remain in effect and still apply to you and your children. Time-sharing stipulations and exchange schedules still apply to you and your children.

If you are planning to evacuate the area, you should get written consent from the other parent if at all possible:

  • Contact the other parent and attempt to obtain their written consent;
    • An offer to make up the time-sharing upon return to the area may help you to accomplish this.
    • Try to take the other parent’s work schedule into consideration when making travel plans.

If you do not get consent:

  • You may be held in contempt for a violation of the court order if your actions are a willful violation.
  • That said, a safety necessity under the threat of a major hurricane is a good excuse for violating the order and we will be available to defend you against any such violations, should you encounter this circumstance. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, but

IF THERE IS A MANDATORY EVACUATION ordered for Collier and Lee Counties, then the restrictions of the Standing Order are overridden by the Governor and/or Mayor issuing the evacuation order. If this occurs – notify the other parent and seek safety. Providing updates to the other parent of yours and your child(ren)’s safety should go a long way in calming everyone in these circumstances. In this circumstance, all issues/questions of timesharing should be secondary to evacuation and safety for yourself and your children.