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Schutz v. Schutz

Supreme Court of Florida
581 So.2d 1290 (1991)


A divorce judgment between Richard and Laurel Schutz in Florida awarded custody of the Schutzs’ minor children to Richard. Afterward, the judgment was modified to grant custody and child support to Laurel and give Richard visitation rights. The ongoing dislike and animosity between Richard and Laurel significantly increased after the divorce. Without notifying Richard, Laurel moved with the children from Florida to Georgia. After Richard learned of the children’s whereabouts, he traveled to Georgia to visit them on three separate occasions, only to find that Laurel had left home with the children so that Richard could not see them. Richard was notified by Laurel seven months after the fact that she had moved back to Florida from Georgia. Once Richard was able to regain contact, the children informed Richard that they hated, despised, and feared him, because he had failed to support or visit them. Subsequently, both Richard and Laurel filed several motions concerning visitation, custody, and support. After a hearing, the trial court concluded that Laurel was at fault for the deteriorating relationship between the children and Richard, and it ordered Laurel to do everything in her power to create a loving and caring feeling in the children toward Richard by words, action, demeanor, or implication. The court further stated that a breach of this duty by Laurel could result in an order of contempt, imprisonment, loss of custody, or any combination of those things. Laurel appealed, arguing that the trial court’s order violated her First Amendment right to free speech.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kogan, J.)

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