Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

In Ness v. Martinez, 1D17-2742 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), a myriad of issues were appealed arising from a denied petition for relocation. Among those issues was the mother's objection to the trial court adopting the father's counsel's proposed final judgment. It is common practice for a judge to request that attorneys submit proposed final judgments after presentation of the evidence. 

The mother objected that apparently the court adopted the proposed final judgment submitted by the father's counsel. Her basis for objection was case law which states proposed orders are a starting point for a judge, but cannot substitute for thoughtful analysis by the judge. However, the appellate court ruled the holding of that case law is that the judge should announce findings on the record, not that the judge is required to do so. In this case, the judge requested proposed orders from both sides with no objection, therefore the mother's appeal was denied on this ground. 

Next, the mother appealed the trial court's denial of her petition for relocation. The mother argued she would have a better job opportunity in Alabama and the father would actually receive increased time-sharing under the relocation plan.  The trial court held the detriment to the child that would result from relocation outweighed the proposed benefits. The appellate court upheld this determination, stating that even if it did not agree with the interpretation of the evidence, it could not second-guess the trial court's findings. 

The mother also lost her appeal on her other challenges to the child support modification and time-sharing modification. If you are seeking a modification of your parenting plan or a relocation, contact a Miami child custody lawyer. A consultation can help you decide the pros and cons of proceeding.