FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Diana Michelle
Patrick Michael Megaro and Jaime T. Halscott, of Halscott
Megaro, P.A., Orlando, for Appellant.
Nicholas A. Shannin and Carol B. Shannin, of Shannin Law
Firm, P.A., Orlando, for Appellee.
Martinez ("Mother") appeals the trial court's
second amended final judgment of paternity related to Brandon
Lebron's ("Father") paternity petition.
Primarily, Mother argues that the trial court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ("UCCJEA"). She
also contends that the trial court erred in entering a
time-sharing schedule and granting Father attorney's
fees. We affirm.
and Father are the parents of J.D.L. ("Child"), who
was born in New York. The parties were never married, but
Father acknowledged paternity immediately after Child's
birth. The parties and Child initially lived in New York, but
eventually moved to Florida, although the parties disputed
the precise date on which Mother intended to permanently move
to Florida with Child. Mother and Father's relationship,
which was rocky at best, deteriorated further while the
parties were living in Florida, and Mother and Child returned
to New York.
to Father, Mother filed a paternity petition in New York
shortly after her return. Two days later, Father filed a
paternity petition in Florida, alleging that Mother had
absconded with Child to New York. Unaware of the New York
petition, the Florida court entered an initial order
establishing a temporary time-sharing schedule.
Florida court may not exercise jurisdiction under the UCCJEA
if, at the time of the commencement of the proceeding in
Florida, a child custody proceeding concerning the child had
been commenced in another state having jurisdiction
substantially in conformity with the UCCJEA, unless the court
of the other state terminated or stayed the proceeding
because Florida is a more convenient forum. § 61.519(1),
Fla. Stat. (2017).
learning of the New York paternity petition, the Honorable
Michael Murphy stayed his initial order, ruling that before
exercising jurisdiction, the Florida court must communicate
with the New York court. In May 2017, the New York court
declined to exercise jurisdiction, finding that Florida was a
more convenient forum. Following that ruling, the Orange County
circuit court proceeded with its handling of the
trial, Mother's counsel conceded that "jurisdiction
has been established for the child as a resident of
Florida." On appeal, despite that concession, Mother
primarily challenges the authority of the Florida court to
hear and decide the paternity action.
UCCJEA addresses subject matter jurisdiction in child custody
proceedings. §§ 61.502-61.542, Fla. Stat. (2017).
Section 61.514 provides:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in s. 61.517, a court of
this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child
custody determination only if:
(a) This state is the home state of the child on the date
of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home
state of the child within 6 months before the commencement
of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state
but a parent or person ...