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Child Custody – Parenting Plan – Timesharing

The current law in Florida provides that a parent cannot relocate or change the location of their principal residence if that change of residence will be more than 50 miles from their current residence.  If a spouse is considering a move that is more than 50 miles away, they must obtain either the written consent of the other spouse, or seek approval from the court.  The relocation provisions of Florida law are found in Florida Statute 61.13001.

In the absence of a statutory or contractual provision to the contrary, the proper method to measure the distance between 2 points is the straight line or quote as the crow flies” measure. If the distance using the straight-line test measurement is less than 50 miles, a move can be made by one parent without consent from the other parent or approval from the court. This would be true even if the move is 49 miles away.

However, simply because a move is less than 50 miles away, does not mean that other aspects of a parenting plan would be effected.  A move 49 miles away would most definitely effect the school boundaries, and therefore the school that the minor child would attend.  Does this mean that the moving or relocating parent has a right to change schools without obtaining the other parent’s consent?

The answer to this question is usually no.  Once parents enter into a parenting plan, they generally provide for shared parental responsibility on all major decisions effecting the welfare of their children.  Educational matters are considered major decisions.  Therefore, if a move will trigger the enrollment of the minor child in a different school, a discussion must be held with the other parent, and the consent of the other parent to change schools must be obtained prior to removing the child from his or her existing school.  In the event the other parent will not consent, the matter must be brought before the court for a determination as to the best interests of the child.

A discussion of these issues, which involve the interrelationship between these principles, can be found in the case of Dickson v. Dickson, 169 So. 3rd 287 (Florida 5th DCA 2015).

The Florida Supreme Court has approved a form for a Parenting Plan (Form 12.995(a) to be used in a divorce case or paternity case. Caution should be exercised when completing this form.  Although the form contains many multiple-choice type selections, the parenting plan can also include, and should include, specific matters that are unique to your own particular family situation.  An experienced divorce attorney in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale should always be consulted with prior to executing any parenting plans or other legal documents which will substantially affect the welfare of your minor children.  Attorney Alan R. Burton, a seasoned and experienced divorce attorney who deals with parenting plans and all other child related issues on a daily basis is ready to assist you now.  Call 954-295-9222 to speak with Mr. Burton today.