How to Block a Residential Parent’s Relocation
Relocations are probably the most common divorce modification action. Income often changes more frequently than physical location, but not all income changes are substantial under Florida law. Most people move about twelve times during their lives. And, even if the move is local, a new residence significantly impacts the parenting time division.
In these cases, many non-relocating parents do not try to block or restrict a proposed move. Generally, they are fatalistic and they think there is nothing they can do. But these parents still have a voice in the process, because Florida has a co-parenting law. If these parents partner with a Clearwater child relocation attorney, their voices are even stronger.
Pay Attention to Details
The law typically requires parents to give written notice prior to a move. Many decrees have provisions that are even stricter. These requirements prevent impulsive decisions that are poorly thought-out.
If a parent did not give timely notice, the non-relocating parent might be able to block the move altogether. In other cases, the non-relocating parent can at least reset the clock and force the relocating parent to start over. That delay might cause impulsive parents to re-think their relocation decisions.
Press the Presumption
Florida law presumes that children benefit from frequent and consistent contact with both parents. Long-distance relocations make such contact impractical or impossible. Skype and FaceTime contact is certainly better than nothing, but it is not the same as in-person visitation.
To successfully press this presumption in court, the challenging parent must have clean hands. If the parent has matters to address, like a substance abuse problem or anger management issues, they must be at least under control. It’s better if they are no longer a concern at all.
Additionally, challenging parents must have a good reason for contesting the relocation. Spiteful feelings toward an ex-spouse are not a good reason, and neither is a selfish desire to have the children close. Be careful about posts and likes on social media, as these things could be used against you.
Negotiate a Solution
Modification trials usually benefit no one. They are expensive, both financially and emotionally. So, it’s usually better to negotiate a solution. Frequently, this negotiated solution includes some concessions from the relocating parent.
Attorneys are excellent negotiators. Often, each party’s lawyer can arrange a solution which preserves the integrity of the family and also allows each party to exercise their rights. Once attorneys negotiate this solution, they can present an agreed order to the judge. Assuming both parties had independent counsel and the plan does not ignore key parenting time factors, most judges approve these agreements without requiring hearings.
If the parents are too far apart, the judge often refers the matter to mediation. A third-party mediator works to facilitate a settlement between the two sides. If both parties negotiate in good faith, which means they are both willing to compromise, mediation is usually successful.
Count on an Experienced Lawyer
Judges do not automatically grant unilateral relocation requests. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Clearwater, contact Cairns Law, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Pinellas County and nearby jurisdictions.