Fourth DCA: Ruling Designating Keys Father Primary Residential Parent When Child Begins School Does Not Constitute Improper Prospective Relocation Order

Fourth DCA: Ruling Designating Keys Father Primary Residential Parent When Child Begins School Does Not Constitute Improper Prospective Relocation Order

Krift v. Obenour, Case No. 4D13-1151 (Fla. 4th DCA, November 5, 2014)

The Law Offices of Robin Bresky recently obtained a decision in our client’s favor in the Fourth DCA in a case regarding timesharing where the parties live greater than 45 miles apart.

The parties filed for dissolution of marriage after being married less than one year. The former wife lived in Lake Worth and the former husband lived in the Florida Keys. The trial court’s Final Judgment ordered a rotating timesharing schedule where each party would have two months at a time with the child. The trial court later rendered an Amended Final Judgment that designated the former husband as the primary residential parent once the child began kindergarten and ordered that the parties abide by the Model Parental Timesharing Schedule (Instate Where Parents Reside More than 45 Miles Apart).

On appeal, the former wife challenged the trial court’s ruling as to timesharing before the parties’ child begins kindergarten, as well as the designation of the former husband as primary residential parent once the child begins kindergarten. The former wife argued that rotating timesharing was inappropriate where neither party had requested it. The former wife also argued that the trial court’s order that the former husband be the primary residential parent once the child began kindergarten constituted an improper prospective relocation order prohibited by Arthur v. Arthur, 54 So. 3d 454, 459 (Fla. 2010). The former husband argued that the court’s decision on rotating timesharing was supported by the evidence and was within the court’s discretion. The former husband also argued that the decision that the former husband be the primary residential parent once the child begins kindergarten was not a relocation order under the statute because neither party was relocating.

The Fourth DCA agreed with our argument that the designation of our client as the primary residential parent did not constitute a relocation order under the statute. The court pointed out that the application of the relocation statute (section 61.13001(e), Florida Statutes) required a change in the location of residence of a parent, which was not present in this case. The Fourth DCA reversed on the issue of timesharing prior to kindergarten because the parties did not have the opportunity to present evidence on that arrangement. However, the court’s affirmance of our client’s status as the primary residential parent once the child begins kindergarten constituted the significant positive outcome for our client.

* The decision is not final until disposition of any timely filed motions for rehearing.