M.M. v. Department of Children and Family Services, 2015 WL 4077501 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Father sought review of an order terminating the Department of Children and Families’ (Department) supervision of the children. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) granted the petition only as to the portion of the order that limited father’s future visitation with the children.

The trial court terminated supervision of the children based on the children achieving permanency with their mother. The trial court also denied father visitation based upon evidence that the children were in fear of their father and would suffer serious mental distress from any contact. Although the Third DCA found ample evidence to support a denial of visitation at the time of trial, the Third DCA found that the trial court erred in restricting decisions regarding future visitation solely to the children’s discretion. Citing Florida Statute § 39.621, the Third DCA held that the trial court has a duty to consider any future motion for modification or increased visitation.

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