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Protecting the Interests of Clients & Families Throughout Orange & Seminole Counties

Move-Away Modifications in Seminole County: Some Basic Arguments


Before they reach age 40, most people move about a dozen times. Since most adults under 40 have young children, most of these moves involve changes in parenting time divisions. Florida lawmakers recently streamlined the process to make these relocations a little easier on everyone.

Most relocations involve job changes, which could mean a child support adjustment. However, child support and parenting time are separate issues. It’s illegal to condition visitation on child support payments, either directly or indirectly. A Winter Park family attorney can address both these items in the same motion, but the arguments are different.

50/60 Relocations in Orange County

Much of the aforementioned changes involves short-distance relocations. If the residential parent moves the children less than fifty miles and remains there for fewer than sixty days, the residential parent need not obtain the non-residential parent’s consent. In fact, the residential parent need not even inform the other parent.

The fifty mile requirement usually applies. Most relocations fall into this category. But the sixty day limit is different. However, some people watch empty houses for several weeks or take extremely temporary jobs. Other times, planned temporary moves become permanent.

Legally, the fifty miles is the driving distance as opposed to the straight-line distance. However, tread lightly if you use this argument. Parents who oppose moves because the driving distance is 51 miles instead of 49 look very petty. Under Florida’s co-parenting laws, such parents risk losing not only the motion but also a substantial part of their parenting time.

Agreed Relocations

The vast majority of move-away modifications are agreed relocations. Agreed settlements save time and money. They also avoid emotional litigation.

These agreements often involve some give and take. For example, Father might agree to Mother’s relocation if Mother agrees to give Father more parenting time on weekends. Once again, child support and other financial issues cannot enter into play here. These amounts may change, but that is a separate proceeding.

Quite often, parents agree in principle, but disagree on the specifics. In these situations, pre-filing mediation may be useful. If a mediator can iron out the differences, the parties may present an agreed motion to the judge. Family law judges usually approve agreed modifications without holding hearings.

Contested Relocations

If the parents do not agree and cannot resolve the issues on their own or with the help of a mediator, the judge will decide the matter, using the best interests of the children. Many parties lose their arguments in court because they focus on the best interests of the parents, and not the best interests of the children.

Assume Wife tells the judge she wants to move because the proposed new residence is closer to her job. Clearly, the move is in her best interests. But normally, uprooting the children is not in their best interests.

So, Wife must present her argument differently. If she told the judge the shorter commute would give her more time to spend with the children, she might win. If she told the judge the new residence is in a safer neighborhood or has access to better schools, she would almost certainly win.

To block the move, Husband must use the same approach. If he argues that the move would inconvenience him because he must drive further, he would almost certainly lose. But if he argues that the new neighborhood is not any better for the children, he might win.

Rely on a Dedicated Lawyer

Move-away modifications do not have to be complex affairs. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Maitland, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.

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