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How Soon After Moving To Florida Can You Go To Court To Establish A Parenting Plan?


If you have done the first round of Internet research in preparation for filing for divorce or setting up a parenting plan with your ex-partner with whom you share a child, you may have read that there is a residency requirement, but what does that mean?  What is the definition of a Florida resident for purposes of filing legal actions in the family courts?  Florida courts have ruled on divorce, parenting plan, and child support cases when Florida was not the only place that the couple or one half of it could call home.  You can divorce in Florida if you and your spouse live here with a nonimmigrant visa, for example.  You can also divorce in Florida if you reside primarily in Florida and your estranged spouse resides primarily in another state.  The rule is that you must have been residing in Florida for at least six months prior to filing the papers in court, even if you don’t plan to stay in Florida permanently.  If you live in Florida and your ex lives in another state, contact a Boca Raton child custody lawyer.

Mother Files for Divorce Almost Immediately After Moving Out of Florida

Orion and Lacey lived in Colorado for most of their marriage.  In October 2010, they moved to Florida with their two children.  In August 2011, when she was pregnant with the couple’s third child, Lacey moved back to Colorado with the children, but Orion stayed in Florida; the third child was born in early 2012.

In December 2011, Orion filed for divorce in Florida and requested a parenting plan.  Lacey responded, saying that the courts of Colorado, and not Florida, should have jurisdiction, as it was the state where the children resided.  She claimed that she had been a resident of Colorado for years, with only a ten-month sojourn in Florida.  Orion argued that, while he had been residing continuously in Florida for more than a year when he filed the petition, Lacey and the children had only maintained a continuous presence in Colorado for four months at that time.  Eventually, the court sided with Orion and ruled that the courts of Florida should have jurisdiction over the case.

The published court decision only tells us that the court decided that the case could continue in the Florida courts, but it does not address other complexities that arise in cases like these.  Co-parenting across state lines is not a simple task.  The parenting plan must address issues of transportation.  In Orion and Lacey’s case, one or both parents would have to invest the time and money in transporting the children, the youngest of whom was an infant, by airplane or on a multi-day road trip, several times per year.

Contact Schwartz | White About Co-Parenting in Different Time Zones

A South Florida child custody lawyer can help you work out the details of timesharing if your ex-spouse does not live in Florida and your children must divide their time between two states.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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