You’ve filed for divorce and things are moving along in the case. Out of nowhere a report is called in to the Department of Children & Families regarding your child. There’s a full-blown DCF investigation and before you know it the Department has custody of your child. But you were just about to address time-sharing and parental responsibility in the divorce case…what happens now?
Once DCF takes custody of your child, be it via sheltering your child or an in-home judicial case, the Dependency Court has jurisdiction. This means that the dependency case and all of the decisions made in it regarding your child take precedence over your pending divorce case. While a judge can proceed with granting your divorce, they cannot make any decisions relating to the child until the dependency case is resolved.
The progression of an average dependency case takes approximately one year. That being said, some are resolved in as short as six (6) months, while some take longer than a year. The length of time it takes to resolve a case directly correlates to the facts of the case, the involvement of the parties in the case, and the progress made throughout the case.
Uniform Family Court (UFC) has been implemented in Lee County to help assist with cases like these where there is an overlap between a family law case such as paternity or divorce, and a dependency case. What this means is you will be assigned to the same Judge for both of the cases in order to try to alleviate some of the confusion and keep the cases on the same page if at all possible.
Are you currently in divorce proceedings but unsure what to do because of a pending DCF case? Do you need assistance in figuring out how and when to file for divorce when your children are not in your custody? At Calvo & Calvo, we can help you navigate your way through whatever obstacles may arise in your divorce. Call us today and let us assist you with your family law needs!