I'm currently in an ongoing paternity, timesharing, and relocation case for my 10 month old daughter. For the last couple of months we have been mostly on a 50/50 overnight timesharing schedule with no problems. Yesterday I officially became pro se and let my attorney go. The mother's attorney is now wanting to suspend visitation immediately and have me see an expert to make sure I'm mentally okay. Should I agree to this? Is it odd that they immediately do this right after my attorney withdraws? I told the mother's attorney that I would only visit with a neutral judge appointed expert and not one of his own. Please advise.
Family Law Attorney
The timing seems suspect. Following your instincts to have a neutral expert appointed under Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure 12.360 and 12.363 to conduct a time-sharing and parenting plan evaluation of both partents will give you confidence that the expert appointed will perform the evaluation(s) neutrally and fairly.
A parent is able, under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.360(A)(1)(B), to move for an examination by a qualified expert of the other parent's psychological health when that has been placed in controversy. But simply seeking time-sharing or a parenting plan, or seeking or opposing relocation, do not automatically place a parent's mental health in controversy, although each party's mental and physical health are factors a court must consider under section 61.13(3), Florida Statutes.
Please note that this response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements.
Also note that "controversy" is not necessary for evaluation. All parties and the child can be evaluated pursuant to Florida Statutes 61.20. Do not take an evaluation lightly. The recommendations and report may be negative towards you. If you are not inclined to hire another attorney to look into the matter of why you need an evaluation, at least ask the court to have a more thorough review of all details regarding the child and all parties (ie the mother as well).
Natalie Hall, Esq.
The information presented here is general in nature for general assistance and is not intended to be legal advice. Do not Act or Rely on the information provided herein. Consult an attorney for specific legal advice tailored to your case. This posting and information does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader and The Law Office of Natalie D. Hall, P.A. If you need a legal consultation for your case, call us at 407-412-7035.