0
Is Teen Sexting a Crime in Florida?

Is Teen Sexting a Crime in Florida?

The answer is yes, sexting between two minors is considered a crime in Florida. In 2011, the Florida legislature passed a law that specifically pertained to teen sexting. Children and teenagers under the age of 18 should have some understanding of this law and the penalties for violating it.

Prior to this law, minors caught sexting would be charged according to more severe Florida child pornography laws. While this is no longer the case, the consequences for minors who violate the current law can still be harsh with long-lasting effects for the offender. If a you are a parent or guardian of a minor cited for a sexting violation, seeking the legal counsel of an experienced Miami juvenile defense attorney is recommended.

What is Sexting and Teen Sexting?

Sexting is defined as people sharing nude or sexually explicit messages, typically photos or videos, through the use of electronic communication channels and devices such cell phones, the Internet, social media, and so on. Teen sexting occurs when the above behavior happens between two minors and the messages in question depict minors.

Under Florida sexting law, sexting between two consenting adults is not a criminal activity. However, teen sexting is considered a criminal offense. Minors commit the crime of sexting when they knowingly distribute, receive, possess, or create a nude or sexually explicit image or video of another minor.

If a minor receives an image or video depicting a minor in situations of nudity or sexual conduct, but they (i) did not solicit the image, (ii) did not distribute the image to another party, and (iii) took steps to report the image to a parent, guardian, school official, or law enforcement official, they are unlikely to be charged with violating the Florida sexting law.

What are the Penalties of Teen Sexting?

The consequences minors may face because of sexting vary in severity and depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Generally, punishments get harsher the more offenses a minor is charged with. Any images or videos transmitted or received within a 24 hour period are counted as one offense.

      • First Offense — Minor charged with non-criminal violation, could face a $60 fine, 8 hours of community service, and/or mandatory classes on the dangers of sexting.
      • Second Offense — Minor charged with first degree misdemeanor, could be faced with steeper fines, probation, and/or placement in a juvenile detention center.
      • Third Offense — Minor charged with third degree felony, could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and may be required to register as a sex offender.

To learn more about the Florida sexting law and Florida child pornography laws as they pertain to juvenile defendants, speak with a seasoned Miami juvenile defense attorney. The attorneys at Pimentel & Castillo are experienced at defending juveniles from criminal charges, including sexting violations. If you are a parent or guardian of a minor that is facing teen sexting charges, call us today for a free consultation.

0
When to Update a Florida Parenting Plan

When to Update a Florida Parenting Plan

According to Florida family law, parents in a divorce case are encouraged to develop and agree to a parenting plan. The parenting plan is a legally-binding agreement that must be approved by the court. If they are unable to agree to a parenting plan, the court will intervene and decide what parenting plan is in the best interest of the child. However, after some time, a parenting plan can prove to be ineffective or outdated and may need to be modified.

Parenting plan modifications must also be approved by a Florida family court. The process of modifying a Florida parenting plan can be complex, so it is best to consult with a seasoned Miami family law attorney when petitioning the court for a modification.

Events That May Trigger Parenting Plan Modifications

There are a variety of reasons for wanting to modify a parenting plan. Any revisions and modifications one wishes to make to a Florida parenting plan must be based on the child’s best interest. Still, some life events and/or changes in the child’s needs may prompt a parenting plan modification. These changes may concern financial support calculations, visitation schedules, time-sharing arrangements, and even custody arrangements.

      • Remarriage Especially if it involves relocation or step-children.
      • Relocation Especially if the new distance between the parents’ households is significant.
      • Maturation of the child Especially if the current plan is no longer age-appropriate.
      • Changes in the child’s schools or school schedules
      • Changes in jobs Especially if it involves relocation, significant changes in income, or unemployment.
      • Negative effects of current Florida parenting plan on the child’s development
      • Unfit parenting status Especially if it concerns recent domestic violence charges.

What Florida Family Court Considers

Just like in child custody cases, the Florida family court will make a decision it believes to be in the child’s best interest. After one or both parents files a petition for modifying the parenting plan to the court, there will be a hearing to determine if there is just cause for a modification. The court will judge the severity of the major life changes cited as the reasons for the requested parenting plan modification. One parent or both parents have to prove to the court that the current plan no longer meets the child’s needs.

Not all modifications are approved by the Florida family court. Working with an experienced Miami family law attorney can increase your chances of successfully modifying your Florida parenting plan.

The Florida family law professionals at Pimentel & Castillo can provide the right legal guidance and assist in petitioning the court on your behalf. Call us today for a free consolation.

0
What Does the Florida Court Consider When Deciding Child Custody?

What Does the Florida Court Consider When Deciding Child Custody?

Florida courts have wide discretionary authority when it comes to deciding Florida child custody in divorce cases, but they are most concerned with making a decision that will be in the “best interests of the child.” Essentially, this means the judge’s decisions on how custody rights and parental responsibilities will be divided are always tailored to fit the unique needs of the child.

An experienced Miami child custody attorney can address clients’ Florida child custody litigation needs and defend their parental and custody rights, so that the final custody arrangement will be favorable for both the child and parent.

In general, Florida family law upholds that children generally benefit from maintaining frequent contact and interaction with both parents and favors custody arrangements that accommodate this. The following are the best interest factors Florida courts most often consider before making a custody ruling in a divorce case.

Health, Safety, and Ethics

When deciding on a custody arrangement that will be in the best interests of the child, Florida courts consider the child’s health, safety, and moral development when determining best interest factors. A judge will review a parent’s behavior and the home environment thoroughly to uncover any elements that could disrupt the normal mental and physical development of the child. If there is evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, a parent or both parents could lose their custody and visitation rights. Additionally, to protect a child’s ethical development, a judge may consider a parent’s mental and physical state based on circumstances such as adulterous relationships prior to the divorce, frequent causal relationships with multiple partners, verbal abuse, substance abuse, and illegal activities.

Emotional and Developmental Needs

Other major best interest factors that are emphasized by Florida family law concern the emotional and developmental needs of a child especially concerning their general welfare, familial connections, education, and healthcare. These factors include:

    • Ability and willingness to be involved in their child’s life
    • Demonstrated ability to meet their child’s developmental needs
    • Love, affection, and existing relationship with their child
    • Awareness and participation in their child’s daily school and extracurricular activities
    • Familiarity with their child’s social circles and preferences
    • Home situation and the extent of its stability and permanence
    • Willingness to cooperate with other parent and honor time-sharing schedules

After reviewing all appropriate best interest factors, detailed in Florida Statute 61.13, a judge has the information needed to decide custody arrangements. In some instances, that decision may involve granting custody to a legal guardian. Sometimes, when a child is older and mature enough, a judge may allow the child to voice their custody preferences.

Florida family law, especially concerning child custody litigation, can be very complex. Call Pimentel & Castillo to have an experienced Miami child custody attorney represent you in a divorce case and defend your parental and custody rights.

0
4 Benefits of Joint Physical Custody

4 Benefits of Joint Physical Custody

While having joint legal custody brings its own advantages, joint physical custody where each spouse has equal time with their children can be beneficial for both parents and children. Consult with a Miami divorce attorney to learn more about the custody options available because some divorce cases might only allow for joint legal custody. For divorce cases that can accommodate joint physical custody, here are some benefits to consider.

1. Children Live in Both Households

With joint physical custody, children are able to live with both parents for equal or almost equal amounts of time. This arrangement forges strong and healthy relationships with both their parents and allows children to stay connected with their extended families from both sides. Living with both parents reduces the fear of losing a parent as well as the feelings of rejection, loss, and conflict of loyalty some children experience after a divorce.

2. Discipline is a Team Effort

Since both parents get equal parenting time with their children, there is an opportunity for them to collaborate in creating house rules and enforcing consequences. With joint physical custody, both parents will be equally responsible for their children’s discipline. One parent will not be pitted against the other parent, one being the “disciplinarian parent” and the other being the “fun, part-time parent.” If both parents work together, a continuity in household rules can be established, providing consistency in children’s daily routines, as well as responsibilities.

3. Routine Schedules Good For Parents

Both parents will have to agree on a joint custody schedule that determines how parenting time will be divided between them. This schedule provides a set and predictable routine that both parents follow and can plan around. By knowing when their children will and will not be at their house, each parent can schedule their activities accordingly. Plan for family-centered activities during parenting time and plan for work activities, time with friends, or “me” time when the kids are not around.

4. Share Daily Costs of Raising Children

Costs for after school activities, toys, and school supplies might seem small, but they sure add up. But when parenting time is shared, both parents naturally end up sharing costs on these everyday items and expenses. On the other hand, large expenses should be handled according to the parental agreement.

If you are considering divorce, consult with an experienced Miami divorce attorney at Pimentel & Castillo to learn more about the process as well as custody options. Call our family law professionals today.