How Military Service Can Affect Parenting Time And Child Support In the State of Florida
Military service and its impact on parenting time and child support is governed by Florida statute 61.13002. In the state of Florida, courts are limited in their ability to modify when a deployment or activation affects the service member’s ability to fulfill the parenting time requirements and rights in the original order. The courts may only issue a temporary order modifying parenting time if it is in the best interests of the child in cases where one of the parents is in military service and is being deployed. When issuing a temporary order modifying parenting time, courts shall provide for every available means of contact between the deployed parent and the child or children. This can include the telephone, webcam and any other available means of communication. When the deployed parent is on leave, the court shall allow for liberal parenting time between the service member and the child. The statute recognizes the importance of maintaining a parent and parent relationship in all cases, including when one parent is deployed.
Assignment of Parenting Time to Another Party
When a parent is deployed in excess of 90 days, interfering with his or her ability to exercise his or her parental time with the child, the deployed parent may assign that parenting time to another party. That party is limited to a stepparent, relative of the child by marriage or another family member. If the deployed party wants to make such a designation, it must be done at least 10 days prior to any change taking place. A parent may object to a designation only on the basis that it is not in the best interest of the child. Either party is entitled to an expedited court proceeding if the parties cannot agree on the designated party.
The Service Member Parent Along with the Nonservice Member Shall Cooperate
The parties are required to work together to resolve issues of child support, child custody, visitation delegation and visitation. Designation of who will be the visitation designee can also be declared at the time of the marriage dissolution or other child custody proceedings.
Any Order Issued By a Court Will Be Temporary
If a court issues an order changing custody arrangements, child support or other aspects of the parenting arrangements, that order will be temporary. When the deployment ends, the parenting arrangements will return to what they were prior to the deployment. If necessary, the service member may testify in any number of ways including telephone, webcam, affidavit, videoconference or other means available to accommodate the service member if he or she is unable to appear at a traditional hearing.
Contents of Any Temporary Order
If the court issues a temporary order affecting child support, the court may order:
- Any change in the amount of child support the court deems appropriate temporarily which will revert to the original amount when the deployment is concluded;
- A change in temporary support from a service member; and
- That the service member enrolls the child in any appropriate military benefit plans.
Permanent Change of Station
Permanent change of station of a service member is not covered by this statute. That is covered by Florida statute 61.13001.
If You Are About To Be Deployed, Contact Us for Help
If you are about to be deployed, and need an amendment in your parenting time agreement, contact Fort Lauderdale attorney Sandra Bonfiglio to schedule a consultation. We are prepared to help you today.