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Ama N. Appiah

Ama Appiah’s Answers

53 total


  • My ex-wife wife is wanting to leave the State of Florida and move to Tennessee with my son. Can she do that?

    I play a very active roll in my son's life. My child support is paid on time every month and I see him every wednesday as well as every other weekend (firday through monday). In addition I take him whenever his mother asks to accomodate her work ...

    Ama’s Answer

    The court will take evidence from both sides and determine what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child. You have the same rights to custody and/or visitation as the mother. If there is a primary custody arrangement with the mother, and the court determines that this will interfere with your contact with the child, the court may look at establishing a rotating custody arrangement. The court can't stop the mother from leaving the state, but it can modify the custody to allow for the child to have continued contact with you with as little upheaval as possible, or change the primary custodian if it is in the best interest of the child.

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  • GAL vs Child custody evaluators?

    What is the difference between a GAL and child custody evaluator? and is Is there a FL statute in regards of Child custody evaluators?

    Ama’s Answer

    Just to add to the previous answer, the guardian ad litem represents "the best interest" of the child, which means the he or she observes, talks to all involved, reviews documentation, etc., and based on all the information gathered, makes a recommendation to the court as to what is in the child's "best interest." The guardian ad litem can speak to the child and relay the child's wishes to the court, but does not actually represent the child. The guardian ad litem can be a lay person or an attorney who has been trained to perform their duties and prepare reports in accordance with the Program's standards. The guardian ad litem prepares a report to the court, but the report is based on hearsay and is usually not admitted into evidence as a result. However, the guardian ad litem's testimony can still be presented.

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  • Appeal in Florida (Family Law Case)

    I've been awarded a sum of money through a final order in a family law case in Florida. The other party filed a notice of appeal of the judgement from ciruit court to the district court of appeals in a timely manner. However, it has been more th...

    Ama’s Answer

    You should file a motion to dismiss, however if you have not received the appellate record or index yet, then that is probably the reason for the delay. In that case, the court would deny your motion and order the clerk's office to have the record completed within 30 days or so. In any case, the Appellant should have filed motion for an extension of time and given the reason for the delay in filing the initial brief. If the court does not feel the reason for the delay is not adequate, for example, the Appellant states he/she didn't have enough time, they could still deny your motion and give the Appellant a time within which the brief must be filed or the appeal will be automatically dismissed.

    The motion to dismiss is the most effective motion because it imposes the greatest sanction, which is the dismissal of the appellate case.

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  • Unwed father parental rights

    i am an unwed father of a 5 month of child the mother in question is also pregnant with a child of mine she is 17 i am twenty one she has been living with me for around two years a few weeks ago her father who lives in tampa(2hours) away asked if ...

    Ama’s Answer

    If you are on the birth certificate of these children, it is a public pronouncement that you are the father, and therefore have parental rights. You can assure your visitation rights by obtaining a court determination that establishes that you are the father of the children and sets up the visitation schedule. The court would also establish child support.

    It is always a benefit for an unmarried father to register with the FL Putative Father Registry. Being registered prevents anyone from terminating your parental rights without notice to you, and without giving you an opportunity to defend your parental rights. This does not establish visitation or child support though.

    In regards to the DCF report on your girlfriend, if there was no evidence of bruising, etc., and it basically came down to her father's word against hers, they probably did not have enough to pursue actions.

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  • Petitioning my mother since I am us citizen already?

    My parent separated when i was a child and my father married again. My step mother petition me to go here in the USA b4 i reached the age of 21. and now Ive been in the country for 5 yrs and already gain citizenship through naturalization. I wond...

    Ama’s Answer

    There shouldn't be a problem as long as your step-mother was truthful about your relationship at the time she petitioned for you. Once you become a citizen, there isn't really a need to look back at who petitioned for you unless there is an inconsiistency. To petition for your mother, you just need to submit an I-130 petition for alien relative, provide a copy of your birth certificate that reflects your name and your mother's name, and a copy of your certificate of naturalization. For more information, you can look at www.uscis.gov.

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  • HOW CAN I FILE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON A FAMILY LAW CASE THAT WAS ALREADY HEARD BUT AWAITING A JUDGE DECISION?

    I HAD A HEARING ON JAN 4TH IN A GUARDIANSHIP BATTLE OVER MY NEICE/NEPHEW. THIS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE HAD TO BE IN COURT BUT I AM IN THE CENTER OF THE HEARING BECAUSE I LEFT MY NEPHEW FOR 8MONTHS WITH A WOMAN THAT HAD BEEN ASSISTING ME WITH CARING ...

    Ama’s Answer

    If you are a party, you can file a Notice of Filing, or Notice of Supplemental Documentation, and attach whatever documentation you feel is necessary for your case, with the clerk's office. Copies of the Notice and the attachment must be served on all the parties. The other parties may object to the filing, however, if you had an opportunity to present the evidence at a prior hearing and failed to do so.

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  • Ill probably fail the dcf drug test for marijuana while my girlfriend and her 7 month old live with me. Will she lose her kid?

    She was in an abusive relationship and got an apartment with me after dcf warned her to vacate the "dangerous premisis". Now that dcf is aware that her 7 month old and herself are living with me, they want to drug test me. Ill more than likely fai...

    Ama’s Answer

    It depends. The court will look at a number of factors before making a decision as to whether or not there needs to be a change of placement for the child. All the parties involved, including DCF would give their recommendations as to what they think should be done to ensure the child is in a safe and healthy environment. I would expect that the mother would be given the opportunity to find another place to live. Additionally, there is the possibility that they might impose drug testing on her as well. The court will look to see whether the mother is making the proper decisions to ensure the best interest of her child. If she was ordered by DCF to leave a dangerous premises, and from there moved into a home where there is drug use, the court will look negatively on her decision-making skils. However, whether they would go as far as removing the child from her may be based on what changes she is willing to make, such as moving, or you not smoking marijuana and testing negative for a series of follow-up tests, etc. If the court is inclined to remove the child from her, they would look to first place the child with the other parent. If the other parent is not an option, they would look to place the child with a relative or non-relative. The last option would be foster care.

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  • I would like for my eight year old daughter's biological dad to give up his parental rights.

    I was never married to her dad, however we dated for a few years and after she was born, his visits became shorter and shorter. She doesn't really know who her dad is and doesn't want to know him. He has never payed child support. He has never hel...

    Ama’s Answer

    You can file a petition to terminate the biological father's parental rights with the court. There has to be a ground on which your petition is based. You should consult with an attorney to review the possibilities. You will also need to establish that termination of his parental rights is in the best interest of your daughter, and that it's the "least restrictive means" of protecting your daughter.

    Assuming the biological father has already legally established paternity, both sides will have an opportunity to present their cases. At the conclusion of all the evidence, the court will determine whether to grant or deny your petition.

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  • Parent's rights vs. Temporary Guardianship.

    If a child is taken from a parent's custody by cps and placed in a friend's care temporarily, what rights do the parent's still have when it comes to such things as medical attention and medications? I would like to know if it would be hard to swi...

    Ama’s Answer

    Generally, the parents have to be informed and be given an opportunity to object if they disagree with medications, or medical treatment of their child(ren). However, the court will make the final determination after it hears from all the parties involved, as well as reviews any statements from doctors, testimony from temporary custodians, etc. The court's decision will be based on what's in the best interest of the child. If the custodians are not notifying you of when the child is going to the doctor or the E.R., you can ask the court to order the custodians to inform you of these events. Unless there is a restriction on your contact with the child, most likely the court would allow you to be present for doctor visits, etc.

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  • DCF removed my son under false allegations. I plead no contest. My ex was granted custody. DCF closed their case.

    DCF removed my son under false allegations in the state of Florida. I even had physical documentation when my mom took him to the emergency...just to be checked. He was fine. I plead no contest as advised to do so. At the last court hearing my...

    Ama’s Answer

    Everything depends on what is in the court order. If the court order states that visitation is every week and says nothing about "at the discretion" of the other parent, then he/she has no right to prevent you from visitation. If the order states that visitation is at the discretion of the other parent, and he/she is abusing that discretion without any basis, then you should make a motion to reopen the case and clarify that issue.

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