What You Should Know About Move-Away Modifications In Florida
To keep pace with an increasingly mobile society, Florida legislators recently changed the law in this area. This change altered the way courts define certain terms and also modified the procedure in this area. However, the underlying principle remains the same. Residential parents may relocate with the children if that relocation is in the best interests of those children. Almost all do-it-yourself relocation petitions do not adequately address this area. More on that below.
Because of these legal changes, and also because the underlying principle hasn’t changed, petitioners and respondents both have strong legal rights in these proceedings. However, unless a Jupiter child custody attorney stands up for these rights in court, they are just ink on paper. Usually, lawyers don’t have to go to court to enforce these rights. Most move-away modification matters settle out of court. When all is said and done, both parents usually want what is best for their children.
A revised definition might be the most important change. Because of this alteration, not every move-away modification is a move-away modification.
Short-distance moves under fifty miles are not legal modifications in the Sunshine State. These parents don’t need judicial permission to move with their children. There’s some dispute as to the nature of this fifty-mile limit. Frequently, there’s a big difference between fifty miles of driving distance and fifty miles “as the crow flies.”
The procedure also changed for legal relocations. Now, the law encourages judges to approve agreed modifications without holding hearings. That’s good news for most families. Generally, no one wants a judge to decide something like where the children live. That’s usually a decision that parents should make.
To take advantage of this change, a Jupiter family law attorney often partners with a professional mediator. These individuals know how to translate broad agreement on general principles into specific agreement on certain terms. Once this agreement is in place, what would have been a contested petition to modify is simply a matter of filing paperwork.
Incidentally, legal modifications should always include legal paperwork. As far as the court is concerned, the existing, filed agreement is the only agreement between the parties. If Parent A suddenly decides to go back to the way things were before, Parent B has no legal recourse. So, always get it in writing.
We mentioned the best interests of the children above. Many petitioners frame their relocations incorrectly. A relocation is almost always in the parent’s best interests. A relocation often means a higher-paying job or a chance to be closer, or further away from, family. However, these moves aren’t necessarily in the best interests of the children.
Therefore, petitioners must pitch proposed relocations differently. A new job is a good example. The parent isn’t the only beneficiary. A higher salary usually also means a better lifestyle for the children.
Respondents often counter that the stated reasons aren’t in the best interests of the children. To stay with that last example, if the kids get to eat pizza twice a week, that doesn’t overcome the fact that the children have moved twice in the past two years. Additionally, a higher salary often means longer hours and less time at home.
To keep these disputes out of court, the parents often compromise. For example, Parent A might agree to the move if Parent B agrees to additional visitation. Once again, it’s very important to get all these changes in writing.
Connect With a Dedicated Palm Beach County Lawyer
Divorce and related matters almost always involve financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Jupiter family law attorney, contact Caroline Olson, P.A. We routinely handle matters throughout the Treasure Coast.