Most central Floridians know that life can be uncertain and that change may the only enduring life experience for some people. Change, especially unexpected or abrupt change, can be especially difficult if minor children are involved. One of the most complex experiences can be the decision of a custodial parent to relocate his or her principal residence. Florida law has provisions for two types of moves: an agreement between the child's parents or an order of the court.
Most parents living in central Florida are aware that the custody of their children will be one of the most important and potentially contentious issues if they should decide to end their marriage or relationship. Yet, the process for making this decision is sometimes obscure. In order to achieve the best outcome for all parties, the parents should make an effort to understand the basic elements of the legal process that will determine child custody, visitation rights and child support.
Child custody can be a deeply contentious issue in any divorce or separation involving children. Parents naturally have strong feelings about where their child should live and how they should be brought up. The laws are complex, and emotions can be at a fever pitch. Understanding family law options can be invaluable to parents who are navigating the child custody process.
Parenting plans are a critical step for every couple in Florida who have minor children and are ending their relationship by divorce or by simply separating. Each couple must prepare a parenting plan that sets out visitation and custody schedules. The plan must be submitted to the court for approval and, if the couple cannot agree on a plan, the court will prepare its own plan.
After the end of a divorce proceeding and the issuance of an order awarding child custody, many residents of central Florida assume that the worst part of the process is over and that their lives will once again become stable. Unfortunately, life is uncertain, and future events can cause almost as much disruption as the divorce. One of the most troubling events is the relocation of the custodial parent and the child to another state.
One of the most painful post-divorce experiences is the relocation of one of the divorced spouses and dealing with issues of child custody and visitation. Florida has adopted a statute that attempts to specify the factors that must be considered and how the courts will resolve any disputes. As with most questions dealing with the custody of minor children, the principal factor is the best interests of the child. Nevertheless, every child's situation is unique and no single rule will fit every situation.
Many residents of Orlando and Winter Park who have finalized a divorce and been awarded custody of their children wonder whether they can move and take the children with them. Conversely, many residents respond with anger and fear when they learn that their ex-spouse plans to move and take the children. Fortunately, for both parties, Florida law provides two basic methods for resolving the problem of parent relocation when children are involved.
Florida is home to many military installations for all five branches of service. In recognition of this fact, the legislature passed a law permitting military members who were placed on temporary assignment to designate a person to fulfill their time-sharing responsibility with their children. One member of the Navy recently argued that his three-year assignment to Guam was "temporary" and wanted to allow his parents to fulfill his paternal role while he was overseas. However, an appellate court disagreed.
In 2009, the Florida Legislature passed a comprehensive statute regulating the award of child support and child custody. Among the act's key concepts is "shared parenting," a legal term that is unique to Florida. The statute requires every court to approve a parenting plan" as part of any order directing the payment of child support or regarding child custody issues.
Many couples in Florida who decide to end their marriages are able to resolve the issues of child custody and child support by agreement. Occasionally, however, the emotional disputes that led to the divorce get in the way of agreement on these important issues. In such cases, the couple must turn to the court for a decision on which parent will be awarded physical custody of the children.