Children, Parenting Plans, and Relocation
The most challenging task in any family law practice is terminating the parents’ union while strengthening the children’s sense of family. The “best interests of the children” can be achieved when each party maximizes the needs of the children and minimizes their often unproductive desire to win. In a practical effort to reduce conflict between parents, effective October 1, 2008, Florida enacted legislation designed to promote harmony and protect the children. Chapter 61 removed such references as ‘custody,’ ‘primary residential parent,’ and ‘visitation,’ in favor of the current ‘parenting plan,’ and ‘time-sharing’ schedules. A Model Parenting Plan has been created to facilitate decision-making issues such as parental rights and responsibilities, time-sharing, child support, and other child-related matters. As your attorney, she will fully explain the Parenting Plan and discuss your decisions prior to you signing the Plan.  My goal is for you to arrive at an amicable resolution that will foster parental cooperation, minimize anxiety for the children, and reduce enforcement and modification proceedings over time.

In my family law practice, relocation cannot be an afterthought. If a mother or father intends to change the child’s primary residence outside a designated geographic location, there needs to be a provision in the settlement agreement that removes the restriction and permits the relocation. Otherwise, each party must comply with the Florida statutory requirements for relocation.