Articles Posted in Family Law

gavel%20brown.jpgFormer Jacksonville Jaguar, Richard Tylski, and his wife, Jane Tylski, have lost a civil suit filed on behalf of their former foster daughter, Janie. A Florida Judge has ordered the couple to pay $1.2 million in damages to the now ten year old girl, for injuries she suffered at the hands of her foster parents. The Tylskis have denied injuring or abusing Janie.

The civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of the girl by an attorney ad litem, who sought damages in order to help Janie pay for future medical needs and counseling stemming from the abuse. The judge in the case determined that Janie had been abused by the Tylskis for years, and has been permanently disfigured by the abuse. Her injuries included a broken finger and a broken leg. The broken leg may prevent her from growing properly.

The Tylskis had previously faced criminal charges in the matter, but settled the criminal case via plea bargain. Ms. Tylski pleaded guilty and received probation; Richard Tylski’s case was handled through the Florida Department of Corrections pretrial intervention program. Tylski did admit in court two years ago that he had caused visible belt marks on the girl’s skin. You can read more details of the civil trial of Jane and Richard Tylski for child abuse at Former Jag, Wife Must Pay $1.2M In Suit.

Weight.jpgAccording to a Florida study of childhood obesity, published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, future incidents of heart disease and stroke for obese children increase along with body mass index (BMI). This is true even if other factors, such as high blood pressure, are not present in those individuals during childhood. The study tested children for certain blood abnormalities that predispose an individual to developing cardiovascular disease later in life.

The study adds more evidence to a growing body of research showing that the negative health impacts of obesity start very early in life. In order to protect young people from future health problems, aggressive weight control measures may need to be implemented for children who show a propensity for obesity. Certainly healthier food and more exercise for young children would help all kids grow up healthier and happier.

A child’s weight may also have legal implications for parents. A South Carolina woman recently lost custody of her child and has been charged with criminal child neglect after the child’s doctor reported concerns about his weight to social services. Many states are now also considering the obesity of the children post divorce in modification actions.


The arrival of thousands of Haitian children in Florida after the recent earthquake in that country has created a huge challenge for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). The DCF has been plagued recently with a series of scandals that call into question its ability to handle Florida’s own children, let alone a large influx of injured and orphaned children from another country. George Sheldon, the secretary of the DCF, has acknowledged that the challenge is a big one said that he is ready to meet it head on.

Within a few short weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, the DCF had found shelter for 720 orphans, overseen medical care for 628 evacuees, and distributed $26 million in assistance along with 3,500 teddy bears. Sheldon said the teddy bears may have been the best medicine for most of the frightened children coming off the planes from Haiti.

Longtime critics of the department are hopeful that Sheldon will improve the situation for Florida children as well, who have been left behind by the system in the past. Roy Miller of the Florida Children’s Campaign has applauded Sheldon for addressing the department’s problems rather than trying to cover them up. Read more about what Florida has done for Haitian children at Florida DCF chief ready for a challenge.

Newborn.jpgKim and Gerard Campanella of Port Charlotte, Florida have been acting as foster parents for a twenty one month old toddler since she was five months old. The Campanellas recently received a phone call from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), informing them that the girl was to be sent to live with a distant relative in Michigan.

Kim Campanella believed that the sudden change in custody would not be in the best interest of the child, and spent several hours researching her hunch on the internet. She found a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics saying that separating a child from its caregivers after six months of age can result in emotional disturbances later in life. Complicating the issue is the fact that the child’s birth mother called the Campanellas several months ago to ask them if they were willing to adopt the child.

The Campanellas made an unusual decision; they decided to hire an attorney and fight the Department of Children and Families’ decision. The move is unusual because foster parents in Florida are required to sign documents stating that they will not take legal action to keep a child they are caring for. According to a DCF spokesperson, the state only requests that foster parents not hire an attorney, and they are legally entitled to do so if they wish.


Deacon Richard Turcotte, chief executive of Catholic Charities announced recently the organization’s plan to bring homeless Haitian children to the US. Since then, he reports that he has been inundated with calls of support. According to the plan, any child considered “at risk,” including orphans, will be eligible to come to the US and be placed with an American family. Each child will be placed on a case-by-case basis. Turcotte cautioned that this will be a measured and temporary measure to help children who have been left homeless or orphaned by the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

What will happen to the children once they are placed in a family will depend on their situation. Some may be placed in foster care, with relatives, or even be adopted by an American family. So far, three sites have been designated in Florida to accommodate the children while they are being placed. The United States government will have to identify these children as officially “at risk” before the program can begin. According to Matthew Chandler, director of Homeland Security, the United States government is currently working on reuniting children with relatives before considering more drastic measures. Read more about the plans to help children orphaned by the Haiti earthquake at Plan to bring children to U.S. gathers steam.

PoliceCar.jpgThree small children may have saved their mother’s life recently. Their mother was washing dishes when her boyfriend and the children’s father, Jose Oliva, attacked her with a pocket knife. He reportedly threatened to take the children away from her and go back to Mexico if she ever tried to leave him. He then allegedly punched her in the back. The three children, all around pre-school age, then intervened to try to stop him from hurting her. Oliva apparently backed off. When he fell asleep sometime later, the woman escaped from the home with all three children and called the Hillsboro County, Florida Sheriff’s office.

The children suffered some bumps and bruises from the attack. Oliva was arrested without incident. He is being held on charges of domestic violence battery by strangulation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and tampering with a witness. His bail has been set at $57,500.

Domestic violence is far too common in Florida homes and throughout the United States. Unfortunately, children are often caught in the middle of domestic disputes. Parents should always act in the best interests of a child rather by responding to the heat of the moment. Children are harmed psychologically when they witness violent events or even threats of violence.

DogAttack.jpgTwenty month old Dallas Walters was visiting his great aunt’s home with relatives when he was fatally attacked by the family’s Rottweiler. Reportedly, the child dropped a cookie on the floor, and when he went to pick it up the dog attacked him. The child was taken to the hospital after the attack but was pronounced dead sometime after arriving. The dog was supposed to be tied up in the backyard, but got loose and wandered into the house.

The Rottweiler was a one-year old unneutered male, and officials say there is no proof that the dog was registered or had received its rabies shot. It was euthanized the day after the attack. The dog’s owners said that they had owned the animal for about two months, and that it had not previously demonstrated aggressive behavior. Dallas’s father, Andrew Walters, says that he will be pressing charges against the dog’s owners.

Large or aggressive dog breeds should never be allowed unsupervised, especially around strange children, who may scare or spook the dog and cause it to act aggressively. You can read more about this child attacked by a dog and mauled to death at Dog that killed toddler is euthanized.


Stephen Hilla of El Dorado, New Mexico, picked up his three kids from his ex-wife for a visit last week and never returned. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s department issued a warrant for his arrest soon after. Hilla was picked up several days later in a Florida state park on Key West. He was found after a concerned passer-by called police to report that he had left two dogs unattended in his truck. The ranger was able to identify Mr. Hilla as a fugitive by using the NCIC database. Hilla was arrested and the children were placed in custody. Joanna Hilla, the children’s mother says she has been in agony not knowing where her children were for several days. Hilla will be taken back to New Mexico and will reportedly be charged with child abduction and child endangerment.

While it is natural for parents to miss spending time with their children after they lose custody of them, breaking the law to do so is never the right answer. It is important for parents in Florida and other States to follow the orders of Judges and to go through the legal system to make any changes regarding support, custody and visitation. For more information, see Abducted kids, father found in Florida.


Bay County, Florida Sheriff’s deputies were called to the residence of Kimberly Smith and James Moore to settle a dispute. While they were talking to the couple, Moore admitted to the officers that he had smoked meth four days previously. One of the neighbors then accused the couple of cooking meth in front of the couple’s baby. Moore denied their claim, and Smith then also admitted to smoking meth three or four days ago.

After getting permission to search the couple’s home, the deputies found marijuana paraphernalia and residue. Moore refused to take a drug test. Both were arrested and charged with child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the child and then turned it over to another family member. Find out more about this couple and their arrest at Two arrested after meth confession. </a

1038102_the_calculator_2.jpgSection 61.30, Florida Statutes is sets for criteria for establishing and setting child support in Florida. Florida Family Law lawyers utilize this statute to advise clients as to the respective rights and obligations as to child support

. When calculating or determining child support, the Court will review the monthly income of each parent which includes the following:

1. Salary or wages.