A Guide to Successful Post-Divorce Relocations
Most people move about twelve times during their lives, and most of these moves take place before age 40. Therefore, many of these relocations involve young children who are subject to divorce orders. The Constitution gives adults the absolute right to travel within the United States. However, this right does not apply to children. So, many relocations require court permission.
Since relocations often involve job changes, these moves might also affect child support, alimony, and other family support obligations. Divorce orders must be legally modified to reflect these changes as well.
Moving is extremely stressful, especially if children and family law matters are involved. Fortunately, a Port St. Lucie family law attorney can make the relocation as seamless as possible. The closer relocating parents adhere to the following tips, the easier the move will be.
Frequently, the divorce decree or other order specifies the manner of notice and the time the relocating party must send this notice. In the absence of such a provision, one month’s notice is usually a good rule of thumb. There’s probably no reason to send a certified letter to the other parent. However, it’s usually best to send notice in at least two formats, such as snail mail and e-mail.
The wording is important as well. It must not be equivocal, like “I am thinking about moving next month.” Instead, the notice should convey a definite plan to move and a tentative moving day. The parent can always revise this information later.
Parenting Time Changes
When parents relocate, they often mistakenly rely on informal side agreements. Sometimes, these agreements are not even in writing. Instead, the parents simply begin exchanging the children at a different place and/or at a different time.
It is usually a good thing for parents to work out such matters between themselves. But in this case, it’s a bad idea. Side agreements, even if written, are unenforceable in family court. So, if one parent suddenly decides to go back to the way things were before, the other parent has no recourse, even if that parent has made some life adjustments because of these changes.
So, it’s absolutely necessary to change the decree, even if the adjustments are relatively minor. It’s also best if the parties present an agreed motion to modify to the judge. Many judges approve agreed motions without holding hearings.
Family Support Obligations
In terms of child support, Florida is an income share state. Parenting timeshare is a factor in the child support obligation. So, if the schedule changes, particularly the number of overnights, the child support obligation probably needs adjustment as well.
Additionally, job changes usually mean income changes. In Florida, the income of both parents is relevant. So, the amount might need to be completely recalculated.
Guideline changes are usually relatively straightforward. However, in some cases, a relocation might mean deviation from the guideline amounts. In these situations, the judge will reassess the obligation in light of a number of factors, mostly the child’s needs and the obligor’s ability to pay.
Connect with a Dedicated Lawyer
Divorce-related relocations need not be complex. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie divorce lawyer, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters throughout the Treasure Coast area.