This is the next post in my series on the handling of child relocation cases in the Melbourne, Florida area. My last article discussed the process of filing for permission to move a child out of state. It is important to understand that the process can be rather lengthy and it is important to consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible if you believe that you will be requesting permission to move. In this article I will discuss the importance of discovery in such cases. Discovery is crucial to acquiring the evidence you need to prove your case. If you need assistance then call my office today to speak with a lawyer.
I previously discussed the use of discovery in change of child custody cases. The same concepts apply to cases involving the relocation of children. Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in litigation. Several tools are provided for the gaining of such information. The opposing party can be made to answer in writing and under oath, a list of written questions. They can be compelled to produce documents and records (such as phone bills, bank records, etc.). They can also be required to answer questions, under oath, in the presence of a court reporter. A transcript of their testimony would be generated and, should they try to change their testimony at trial, then the transcript can be used to point out the inconsistencies.
Discovery is crucial to a parent requesting permission to move a child away from Florida. If the parent requesting the move has traditionally been the primary caregiver then it will be necessary to establish that the child is better off moving. Discovery can focus on any inability the non-moving parent may have in regards to providing full time care and any other issues the non-moving parent may have which make them unsuitable to have primary custody. The process can also be used to show whether or not they have a good faith basis for opposing the move.
Discovery will also be use by the parent who is opposing the move. If, for example, the relocation request is being made due to a job offer then the non-moving parent can attempt to prove that the requesting parent did not attempt to gain employment in Florida. Discovery can also be used to gather information about the requesting parent’s work history, etc. It is important to understand that responding to discovery requests is not optional. An experienced lawyer can assist with determining whether answers must be given, whether objections can be made, and whether a party is requesting information to which they are not entitled.
One point I cannot stress enough is that it can be difficult to win at trial without properly conducting discovery. Contrary to what is portrayed in popular media, trials are not won at the end with “surprise” evidence. Information must be collected through discovery and, if you do not do so, then you may be without valuable evidence at trial. As a Melbourne family law attorney I regularly handle such matters. Contact my office today for assistance. Our office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.