Orlando Parental Relocation Lawyer
Most people move several times during their adult lives. Some common reasons include financial changes (i.e. a bigger or smaller house), job changes, a desire to be closer (or further away from) family, and a change of scenery. Many of these moves affect the parenting plan in a divorce or other family law order. If that’s the case, the judge may need to approve the move.
At the O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando parental relocation lawyers work with both relocating and non relocating parents. After all, both parents want the same thing, which is to protect the best interests of the children. However, while all good parents agree with that principle, they may disagree on the specifics. So, we provide cost -effective and lasting solutions which set the stage for effective co-parenting.
Short Distance Relocations in Orange County
As mentioned, divorced parents move frequently. Furthermore, circumstances may force people to move on very short notice. So, to better facilitate short-distance moves, Florida law recently changed on this point.
Parents only need judicial permission to move if the new residence is at least fifty miles from the old residence. Furthermore, the relocation must last at least sixty days.
Fifty miles is a long way. So, if the residential parent relocates in this way, it may be necessary to legally modify the parenting plan. For example, the pickup and drop-off schedule may need alteration. Otherwise, the non-residential parent may face possible contempt charges for failing to obey the court order.
Agreed Relocations in Orlando
Florida law strongly favors parental agreements. So, if the parents agree to the move, the judge almost always approves it. Sometimes, the judge may not even hold a hearing. Nevertheless, the judge must still approve the agreement. Informal side agreements, even if they are in writing and signed, are never enforceable in family court.
Note that “agreement” is different from “assent.” If the non-relocating parent simply does not want to start a fight, that’s not the same thing as an agreement. Also, note that almost everything is negotiable. So, the non-relocating parent may ask for some concessions in exchange for an agreement. An attorney can better facilitate these negotiations.
Contested Relocations in Florida
If the parents cannot agree on the matter, the relocating parent must file a motion to modify the prior orders. The requested change must be in the best interests of the children. That’s not the same thing as the best interests of the parents. Some factors to consider include:
Continuity: If the move uproots the children from a relatively stable situations and places them entirely out of their comfort zone, the judge may at least ask some tough questions before approving the move.
Effect on Co-Parenting: Florida law states that most children do best when they have consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. If the proposed move would make such interaction difficult or impossible, a judge may not approve it.
Child’s Preference: In Florida, judges may consider the preference of a 10-year-old and disregard the preference of a 17-year-old. There is no age cutoff. The judge always has the last word, because the preference must be in the children’s best interests.
Mediation resolves most contested modification actions. In fact, judges normally order parties to mediate the dispute before they set trial dates.
Count on Dedicated Lawyers
Parental relocations must always be in the best interests of the children. For a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Orlando, contact the O’Mara Law Group. After-hours visits are available.