Dealing With Time-sharing Issues in Long-Distance Situations


 Dealing With Time-sharing Issues in Long-Distance Situations
The case of Anna Krift and Daryl Obenour’s child custody battle represents the potential hurdles that can sometimes arise when trial courts attempt creative compromises. The 4th District Court of Appeal recently issued a ruling throwing out a trial court’s modified time-sharing plan because the plan was something neither parent had proposed and neither side had any notice was a possible outcome.
Krift and Obenour lived in Palm Beach County during their marriage and had one child together. After they split, the husband moved to the Florida Keys for work-related reasons. Initially, the child spent three days a week with one parent and four with the other. This time-sharing plan had the benefit of giving the parents an approximately 50-50 split in time-sharing, but it also presented a problem in that it required the child to travel 400 miles (round-trip) every week back and forth between Lake Worth and Bahia Honda.
The mother eventually returned to court and asked the judge to implement a new time-sharing plan that followed the Model Parental Time-sharing Schedule, which would place the child primarily with one parent. The secondary parent would have the child every other weekend, while the primary parent would have the child the remainder of the time.
The father asked the court to leave the time-sharing plan unchanged. The trial judge attempted to strike out a compromise, ordering that the child rotate between the mother’s home and the father’s home in two-month intervals. Once the child started kindergarten, the father would become the primary residential parent and the child would attend school in the Keys.
The rotating-two-month-intervals part of the plan did not survive on appeal. Florida law prohibits creating an annual rotating timesharing plan, like what the judge ordered in Krift and Obenour’s case, when neither parent asked for such a plan in his or her court documents or argued for that plan in a hearing before the judge. That’s because neither parent had any notice that a “two months with mom, two months with dad” plan was even a possibility, and therefore never had a chance to make a case to the judge for or against the plan, which meant that the modified time-sharing plan violated the parents’ right to due process of law
The mother also contested the part of the order placing the child primarily with the father once the child started kindergarten. Since that was a year away, the mother claimed that this decision was an impermissible prospective relocation. This part of the order remained intact. While Florida does bar orders relocating children at a future date, the placement of the child with the father was not a relocation. Florida law defines relocations as situations when a parent is changing addresses. Here, the court placed the child with the father in Bahia Honda, where the father already lived, once school started. Since it was not a relocation order, it was permissible.
How We Can Help
If you, a friend or a family member find themselves in a situation such as this, please call the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A. at 305 670-3330 right away. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is a licensed family law attorney who has been practicing law since 1987. He is available whenever you need him to pursue your rights. Please learn about our firm at www.FerrisLawFirm.com.

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