Each parent may have their own particular individual days they wish to see their children. Those days should also be included in the planning. When doing so, those individuals who are divorced should consult their settlement agreement or final judgment of Florida divorce or separation in order to make sure that they understand clearly the contact schedule for which they have been provided. In addition those individuals should carefully note any pre-notice time period which said agreement or orders require.
Once your planning has been completed, you should communicate in writing, outlining your request for Florida contact/visitation for the upcoming year. If contact/visitation is provided for in a specific settlement agreement or court order, you should cite to those particular paragraphs in your visitation communication.
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If you receive no objection from the opposing party, then you should follow up your communication in 30 days. Your follow-up communication should state that you have not received any objection or comment on your proposed schedule so you assume that your proposed visitation schedule has been approved. If you receive an oral objection, then you should immediately communicate in writing to the opposing party when, how, and what was stated when and how you received the objection. You also should state in your written communication what was said during the conversation. The importance of doing this is so you can create a written record to substantiate your communications. Once you have confirmed the oral objection in your written communication, you should take the copies of the correspondence to your attorney and request that your attorney contact the opposing attorney immediately to attempt to resolve this objection. If the objection cannot be resolved through negotiation with the opposing attorney, then you will still have plenty of time in which to bring a motion to obtain your requested visitation and gain the vacation time with your children.
Generally speaking what happens is that everyone waits until the last minute to declare their visitation schedule. They feel a great amount of frustration and anger when their reasonable requests are objected to or refused. Unfortunately, under such circumstances little can be done by their attorney to have their complaint heard before the appropriate judge prior to the commencement of the visitation.
In summary, to avoid undue expense or emotional turmoil, and eventually missing your visitation with your children, plan ahead during divorce, communicate early, document all communications in writing, and communicate early with your attorney. If you follow those steps, then you maximize your chances for obtaining the visitation that you desire and which your children richly deserve.
Charles D. Jamieson has practiced family law for more than 25 years and possesses special expertise in complicated issues relating to children, abuse allegations and parental alienation. He has represented individuals or acted as a legal consultant in divorce and child abuse cases throughout Florida, as well as in more than 20 states during his career.
For more information about this topic, or to schedule a phone interview or an in-person interview with Mr. Jamieson at his West Palm Beach office, call Tabatha Turbush at 561-478-0312, or e-mail her at [email protected].