Child Related Issues In Family Law Matters

This article is to help advise you or someone you know about child-related issues in family law matters. I have come across many people that are under the mistaken impression that mothers have greater rights to their children or to time with them than fathers do. Parents essentially have equal rights. A potential exception exists for unmarried couples with children where paternity has not been established. If you want to learn more about that, please email me at Scottbrook@scottjbrookpa.com. In Florida, there is NO PRESUMPTION in favor of a mother of a child. More specifically, Section 61.13 states that there is no presumption for or against either a father or mother of a child concerning any specific timesharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of a child. Furthermore, the public policy of Florida is for EVERY CHILD TO HAVE FREQUENT AND CONTINUING CONTACT with both parents after they separate or divorce. I have also come across many parents that wish to impose their parenting opinions on that of the other parent despite the absence of any true detriment to the welfare of the child by virtue of the other parent’s parenting. Please allow me to elaborate by example. Dad does not like Mom’s new boyfriend. As a matter of fact, Dad thinks the new boyfriend is a bad influence on Mom as she is showing signs of drinking more by virtue of her Instagram and Facebook postings. But Dad has no proof that the new boyfriend is harming the kids, threatening to harm the kids and no proof that ties Mom’s drinking to the DETRIMENT of the...

Groundbreaking Ceremony Highlights City’s Planned Public Safety Improvements

With construction already underway, the City held a groundbreaking ceremony for its expansion of the Public Safety Building, adaptive reuse of existing Fire Station 80 and construction of the new Fire Station 80 on Monday, April 13. The completion date is scheduled for Summer 2010. With the highest approval rating in City history, 83 percent of Coral Springs voters overwhelmingly approved a $13.5 million bond referendum to help build a new main fire station, hurricane-proof the Public Safety Building while expanding the facility’s capacity, and improve the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The City’s aggressive retirement of other debt made room for this financing without having to raise the debt service tax rate. Thanks to the City’s AAA bond rating, these dollars were borrowed at the lowest possible interest rate available to local governments. In addition to the bond, the City has obtained a $1.3 million grant from FEMA for hardening the outside structure of the Public Safety Building to withstand 140-mile-per-hour winds, as well as a $550,000 FEMA grant to build out the EOC. The grant funds have allowed the City to make important improvements now that were scheduled for a later date, and avoid making them payable from local taxpayer dollars. “A highly competitive bid process, receipt of federal grants and our AAA bond rating will enable us to complete this project well within budget,” City Manager Michael S. Levinson said. “The task ahead of us is to bring the project in on time. I’m confident our team will do just that.” When completed, the project will improve the delivery of public safety services by shortening emergency...

Last Column as Mayor

Thank you citizens! Thank you for making my job so easy and enjoyable. I have loved being YOUR Mayor. I have loved our coffees, our walks, our talks, our meetings, our impact, seeking solutions together and so much more. We live in a unique, blessed community. We have so many people that care about others, do for others, volunteer and also get involved with our government. Thank you all for everything you do to enhance our community. I thank my fellow employees, my predecessors, my Commission colleagues and all of my Committee members for also making my job the best I have ever had. I am proud that all of the Commissioners now have regular office hours, that we have a strong Government Citizens’ Committee (the CIGC) and that we have a Government academy and Teen Political Forum. We have one of the lowest tax rates in the State, a great quality of life and excellent schools in our midst. Of course, there are challenges ahead. I am confident that our new Commission and our new City Manager, Erdal Donmez, along with a great team will defeat these challenges and that our local economy will rebound. If I have forgotten your name when we see each other, please forgive me. I hope you feel that I have contributed positively to you as well as to your perception of “government” or “politics.” Thank you again for the privilege of serving you for almost 9 years. Feel free to stay in touch with me at Scottbrook@scottjbrookpa.com or by calling me at 954-757-5551. I will continue to work on our Teen Task...

Neighborhood Voice: Make a Difference

Ramblewood Middle School recently put on an excellent community forum to help families navigate these stressful times and achieve a balance with our teens’ use of technology is healthy ways. The panelists, including Rabbi Gross from Temple Beth Orr, were informative and inspirational. One of the most important themes discussed during the evening was how the family unit has evolved so much over the years and the need for us to expand our concept of “family” to include one another for additional mutual support. Let’s face it. Generally speaking, these are stressful times for many families. It is more and more common to know someone battling a tough illness, or someone who has been looking for work for too long or owe more money on their house than it’s worth. Relative to two years ago, many people feel they have lost so much. On the other hand, most people I know are taking control of their reactions and finding a way to make things work. Our Community hosted a job fair in January that was chaired by Don McCarty and facilitated by over 20 more volunteers! We recently acknowledged the leadership and selflessness of Jimmy, a local school leader and volunteer, for always doing what it takes to help others in need. Rotary and Sawgrass Middle School are planting gardens in Coral Springs to support the environment and build a better future. We are blessed to live in Coral Springs with so many people who contribute to the lives of others. I receive calls or emails from at least 30 people weekly who want to help lift our community....

Lots of City Events! (Column for Parkland/Coral Springs Life)

Come enjoy a wonderful family weekend March 5-7 as Our Town America celebrates its 30th annual family festival at the Sportsplex. This event draws more than 100,000 visitors from the tri-county area every year. The festival is geared toward family fun and includes live entertainment, a food court, amusements, arts and crafts, and much more. Festival entry is free and parking is only $5. The Sportsplex is located just east of the Sawgrass Expressway between Sample Road and Royal Palm Boulevard. For more information, please call 954-752-0126. The Coral Springs Festival of the Arts also returns to Coral Springs for the sixth year and I hope see you all there. The event starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m. on March 20 and 21 at The Walk, 2900 University Drive. For more information, visit csfoa.org or call 954-340-5992. If you’d like to discuss issues or concerns with City staff and live in the Northside and Northeast slices, save the date for the upcoming Slice of the Springs meetings, where you’ll get a chance to interface directly with staff members from all sectors of the City, including police, fire, community development and code enforcement. On Thursday, March 11, residents from those particular slices will meet at Coral Park Elementary, 8401 Westview Drive from 7 to 9 p.m. If you can’t make it to the meeting, catch replays on CityTV, Channel 25 on Advanced Cable Communication and Channel 99 on AT&T U-Verse or stream it online from CoralSprings.org. Keeping personal paperwork with account numbers, PIN numbers and other sources of identification could lead to identity theft. Avoid becoming a...