Modification of MSA: Relocation, Sole Custody & Supervised Visits

From Janet from Pierson, Florida, Volusia County

 I have filed an intent to relocate but I was told afterwards I need to fill out a T packet. I need to relocate but also need to change custody from shared to sole custody and supervised visits. Not sure which forms to include, there are so many and not sure if I need them all. I initially filed the intent to relocate by the advice of a paralegal and since my relocation was only to be for a year or two. I didn’t think he would contest it especially since he hasn’t made any visitation arrangements in over a year and I also don’t have time to do a modification before I have to leave. And I didn’t want to change the MSA in case he straightened up but 17-18 years later and he still the same he may never get straight. But he also agreed he would not force our son to come visit because our son is scared to go there, as he admitted he was living in a motel and having problems again with drugs, alcohol abuse and hasn’t gotten his mental illness under control, this was before I knew I had to relocate. Now I know and so does he. He wants me to send our son alone on a plane by himself at my expense now. If I have to fill out a T-packet containing a new parent plan then obviously I need to be specific since now he wants to contest it and explain why our son needs supervised visits. He also wants to testify he’s 14 years old. I know there has to be a form for that right? Our case is in Brevard County, FL which neither of us reside there anymore.

 Answer:

In the process of relocating, a long-distance parenting plan will need to be established. Within any parenting plan all aspects of how the children will be cared for, how often each parent sees the children and many other factors are addressed. You may be able to request supervised visitation within the parenting plan. A modification of the parenting plan wiil most probably need to have a significant change in circumstances and it seems that your situation definitely qualifies. For more on this, see our Supervised Parenting Plan page.The main concern for the court is what is in the best interests of the child. If your child is in danger then, hopefully, the court will order supervised visitation. If your son wants to have his say there are two different scenarios that my clients have encountered. The most common is the court assigning a Guardian Ad Litem to speak with your child. The Guardian Ad Litem then speaks on the child’s behalf in court. See the Motion for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem, Form 12.942(a)for more information. The other scenario is you request the child have his say via camera and then submitting it to the judge. The judge will need to approve this before you can submit it. See the Motion for Testimony and Attendance of Minor Children, Form 12.944 for more information. Either situation shows you that the goal is to not have a child in the courtroom so that they do not have any undue stress. If neither of you lives in the County which originally established the custody, visitation and child support then you may request a change of venue allowing you to file it in the court closer to you. As long as your ex doesn’t object to the change in location it should be fairly simple to get ordered by a judge. As far as sending your son alone on a plane, most airlines now a days require that a child be accompanied by an adult or that an additional fee be paid to have the airline assign someone to take extra care of the child while flying. Both before the flight and after, a parent must present identification in order for the airline to release the child.

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