If you don’t object within 30 days, the judge will ratify the plan contained in the Notice of Intent to Relocate, including the new visitation and transportation arrangements and child support. With a relocation, child support can be changed and can consider the increased transportation costs.
The three most important points about objections are:
If you fail to object on time, it will be presumed the move is in the best interest of the child, and it will be allowed, unless there is “good cause.” The judge will sign an order, with a copy of the Notice of Intent to Relocate attached. The order will say it is entered as a result of the failure to object, and adopt the visitation schedule and transportation arrangements in the Notice.
Your Notice of Intent to Relocate must be sent to the other parent before you move.
The Notice has specific requirements. It must include:
1. A description of the intended new residence - include the state, city, and specific physical address, if you already know it.
If the residential parent is entitled to a public records exemption of his or her address (police, foster parents and certain other public employees), the court has to order modification of the disclosure requirements of this section, so that confidentiality is maintained. One suggested way of handling this is to put the exempt information on a separate sheet of paper. On the Notice, say that the information is provided on a separate sheet and is exempt by
2. The mailing address of the new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if you already know it.
3. The home telephone number of the new residence, if you already know it.
4. The date you intend to move.
5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the move. If one of the reasons is based upon a written job offer, the offer must be attached to the Notice.
6. A proposal for the revised schedule of visitation and for the new transportation arrangements. If you don’t include this part, the court can dismiss your request. If there is a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting visitation, failure to comply with this provision will not cause dismissal. That’s also true if you have another “good cause” reason before you want to move. In either of these cases, the judge will still want to know your plan for future visitation if it is ordered.
You can also change the child support to consider the increased transportation costs. If you want to do this, you need to explain exactly how you arrived at the new child support amount. The court needs to be sure that the children are adequately supported. Reducing the child support more than 5% from the amount in the guidelines has to be clearly explained.
7. This statement in capital letters:
AN OBJECTION TO THE PROPOSED RELOCATION MUST BE MADE IN WRITING, FILED WITH THE COURT, AND SERVED ON THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON SEEKING TO RELOCATE WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS NOTICE OF INTENT TO RELOCATE. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO THE RELOCATION, THE RELOCATION WILL BE ALLOWED, UNLESS IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING.
8. Your mailing address - where you will receive the objection, if one is filed.
9. A certificate of service showing how and when you gave the Notice to the non-custodial parent.
10. You must sign the Notice of Intent to Relocate under oath and under penalty of perjury and send a copy of it to the non-custodial parent in accordance with the certificate of service. If there is no pending case, you must send the Notice by certified mail, returned receipt and restricted delivery or have a process server or the Sheriff’s office personally serve the Notice on the other parent. The original is not filed with the clerk yet.
You have a duty to update the information you give in the Notice of Intent as it changes. So if you find an apartment in the new location, you need to provide that address as a Supplemental Notice. Remember you can send papers by mail after the first paper is served personally, so the Supplemental Notice can be sent by mail.
The non-custodial parent then has 30 days to object to the relocation. If no objection is filed, you have to file a motion and ask the court to ratify the relocation. The motion has to be personally served on the other parent. The court will ratify the plan according to what is in your Notice of Intent to Relocate, including the visitation and transportation schedules and child support. No hearing is required.
If you receive an objection to the Notice from the other parent, you have to file a motion for permission to relocate and attach the Notice of Intent, including the certificate of service. The court will schedule a priority hearing.
At that hearing, you will have to show that, more likely than not, the relocation is in the best interest of the child. The judge will look at it from the child’s perspective, not the best interest of the parent. If the judge initially finds that the move is in the child’s best interest, the non-relocating parent then has a chance to prove that the relocation is not truly in the child’s best interest.
After you provide the Notice and receive an objection, the court can enter a temporary order permitting the relocation if:
1. The required Notice of Intent to Relocate was provided on a time; and
2. The court finds preliminary evidence that there’s a likelihood the court will approve the relocation based on certain factors at the final hearing,
But, the court may not consider the temporary relocation as a factor in reaching its final decision. Before you ask for a temporary order, consider whether you want to move with the possibility than you may be ordered to return. Also consider whether you want to have two hearings before you ask for a Temporary Relocation Order.
The agreement has to reflect the non-custodial parent’s agreement to the move and what the new timesharing arrangements will be. The law also allows internet and webcam contact between the child and the parent who is not moving. If that parent has alternate weekend time from after school on Friday until Monday morning and alternating holidays, alternate timesharing could include the whole summer and spring break every year. The number of days works out to be about the same. Remember, any agreement you make will be in effect until there is a substantial, unforeseen change of circumstances.
In addition to the new schedule, transportation arrangements need to be spelled out in the written agreement. Who is going to pay for the transportation? How will the child be transported? With out-of-state moves, remember that many airlines have rules about children traveling alone and the rules vary by airline. Most require an escort and charge a fee. Who will pay the escort fee? What if the child is too young to travel alone? Who will pay the extra adult airfares that are needed?
Some other things to consider include: Will child support be adjusted to offset the increased cost of visits? Will the offset vary child support more than 5% from the Child Support Guidelines? You’ll need more financial specifics in your agreement about why you’re adjusting child support if the new amount varies more than 5% from the Guidelines. If there is an Income Deduction Order in place, you will need to submit a new one if the child support amount changes.
Once you write the agreement and sign it, you will need to have the court ratify it. There will not be a “trial” type hearing unless it’s requested, in writing, by one of you within 10 days after the date the agreement is filed with the court. If a hearing isn’t requested, the court can ratify the agreement without a “trial” type hearing and then you can relocate with your child.
Next time, we’ll talk about the Notice of Intent to Relocate.
Two. Even if you are both in agreement with the move, there are new requirements.
Three. If you move without following the new procedure, you may be held in contempt of court and that’s only the beginning. If you don’t follow the new procedure, your violation can be used against you in court. It can be a reason to change custody. It can also be a reason for the judge to order you to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees and costs. And the judge can order you to pay all the child’s travel expenses for visitation while the case is pending. The judge can even order you to return the child to the area permanently. These may seem like severe sanctions, but
Four. The new statute spells out exactly what information you need to provide to the other parent, when you have to give it, and how you provide the information in a Notice of Intent to Relocate to the other parent.
Five. The other parent has 30 days to object to the move. Like the Notice, the objection has to contain specific information and be provided to the custodial parent in a certain way. If there is no objection in 30 days, the custodial parent can file the Notice with the court and the court will enter an order approving the relocation plan contained in the Notice.
Six. If there is an objection, the custodial parent has to ask the court for permission to move. The court will have a hearing to determine if it’s in the child’s best interest to move. The hearing gets priority on the judge’s schedule. At the hearing, the judge will consider ten factors about the relocation, along with any of the usual “best interest” child custody factors of Florida Statute 61.13.
Seven. The court will enter an order for time-sharing that can include telephone, Internet, and webcam contact, and any other arrangements so the child has frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact the other parent. The order can adjust child support and account for the increased transportation costs, but still has to consider the Child Support Guidelines.
Over the next week, we’ll look more closely at
On your Financial Affidavit, list your accounts with only the last four digits of your account number. Do not provide pay stubs or other papers with your Social Security number still visible. I personally use a Sharpie black permanent marker to black out SSNs and account numbers. Even though it bleeds through the page, it does the best job of blocking the information. Even better is to use the black marker and then copy the document. This eliminates the possibility of reading through the back of the document.
For Mandatory Disclosure, Rule 12.285 only requires that the Certificate of Compliance is filed with the Clerk. The form Certificate allows you to check off the items you provide to the other side. This is another example where adding information to the "official" form is good. List the documents you provide and include the month and year of each document on the Certificate of Compliance. For example, on the certificate you would type "Sun Trust checking #3456 12/07, 1/08, 2/08" for your checking account.
You have to give copies of your financial account statements to your spouse and you are entitled to copies of theirs, but only the Certificate of Compliance is filed in the court file. For any non-joint accounts, you'll want to follow the black marker method when giving copies of your Mandatory Disclosure.
If you realize that this information is already in your court file, request that it be removed by the Clerk. At minimum, the clerk will need a list of the specific information you want removed and the case number. Some Clerks have a form for this request. Contact your local Clerk for more information on local procedures.
So if you want to
The sample forms cover only the most basic requirements to dissolve your marriage. If you make mistakes or leave out facts in the petition, the final judgment may be affected and you could wind up spending thousands of dollars for attorney’s fees to fix your pro se divorce.
The culture of origin of a couple has been an issue in many of the cases we have mediated. We point out to the couple that although they may have been married in another country, they are getting divorced in this country and must comply with the laws of the United States. The Archbishop seems to favor family law cases being resolved by religious courts if the parties agree. We have always liked that mediation allows for self determination but there must be some limits. The limits should include that the parties are treated fairly and that U.S. laws are not violated. We wonder whether allowing religious courts to adjudicate legal matters would lead to a chaotic patchwork of decisions and a fracturing of our society’s social contract.
We do not disagree that the parties should be able to make mutually agreed decisions about religious observance. For example, if the parties agree, we make provisions in our agreements that parties ‘will cooperate in obtaining a Jewish Divorce also known as a "Get" or an annulment but the parties have never agreed to allow the religious court to do more than grant the divorce or annulment. For more discussion, the article refers to a law review article by Robin Fretwell Wilson "The Overlooked Costs of Religious Deference". Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, 2007 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1028776 . As always, you can post a comment by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 2/18/08
In considering Equitable Distribution, a court will only consider “marital” assets and liabilities. Non-marital assets come into play primarily with alimony determinations.
When you have non-marital assets/liabilities but mix them with marital assets, by depositing your inheritance check into a joint marital account for example, you may have “co-mingled” these assets so that they aren’t considered non-marital anymore. This area can be a minefield and you will most likely want some professional advice if the two of you can’t decide on a fair way to divide co-mingled property.
As you can see, the situations for unequal distribution are not the typical situation.
If your case goes to trial, Florida Statute 61.075 directs the judge to consider these factors in deciding what is “equitable” or fair when making the division for you:
Contribution to marriage by each spouse, including homemaking
The Marital Settlement Agreement
If you are dividing only personal property, a simple statement that you have already divided the personal property is enough in either the Petition or the Marital Settlement Agreement.
and if you have children, you agree on:
You can write all the terms of your agreement into a Marital Settlement Agreement, you both sign it and file it with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and other required initial documents. Your spouse then files a Waiver of Service and Answer. After that, your case can be set for final hearing.
In the Petition, you must claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” that one of you has lived in
It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.If you cannot reach agreement about your children, the judge will consider the factors in Florida Statute 61.13(2) [scroll half way down, look below (2)(a)] when deciding which one of you the children will live with after the divorce.Note that when you look at the factors there are two factors that relate to fostering a relationship between the child and the other parent. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR MOST JUDGES WHEN DECIDING CUSTODY CASES. You should talk about how the two of you will encourage the children to go with the other parent when they don't want to. Check the Interesting Perspectives section below for some articles with ideas.