Parental Relocation Update

When a parent moves 50 miles from a principle residence, parental relocation is involved. There is a little known update to the law on how we modify custody and time-sharing orders in Florida. And in follow-up to a long standing investigation, police are closing in on the murder-for-hire ring involving one parental relocation.

Relocation Murder

Intrigue in Tallahassee

Tallahassee is the center for political intrigue, but not so much for big murder cases. Many groups have been pushing for alimony reform for years. This year, as part of the alimony reform bill, the governor signed a comprehensive law which impacts relocations of parents from their principle residences.

Timesharing with a child has always been subject to modification by the court.  After a final judgment of divorce or order about timesharing, either parent may seek modification of the timesharing on the grounds of a substantial change in circumstances.

But the party asking for modification of a timesharing order always had to allege that circumstances had substantially and materially changed since the original custody determination, that the change was not reasonably contemplated by the parties; and the child’s best interests justify changing custody.

Effective July 1, 2023, Florida repealed the requirement that a parent must show that a change in circumstance was unanticipated to modify a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.

Accordingly, if the parents of a child are residing greater than 50 miles apart at the time of the entry of the last order establishing time-sharing and a parent moves within 50 miles of the other parent, then that move may be considered a substantial and material change in circumstances for the purpose of a modification to the time-sharing schedule, so long as there is a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child.

Miss Saigon

I have written about the Markel murder case before. Parental relocations can be very stressful. This week, the ex mother-in-law of a law professor who was murdered in his driveway, has been arrested at Miami International Airport.

Donna Adelson, 73, was arrested at MIA after she arrived at the airport where she and her husband had one-way plane tickets to Vietnam.

Her arrest came exactly one week after a jury convicted her son Charlie on all counts for his role in Markel’s murder. Charlie Adelson is a Fort Lauderdale dentist and the murder victim’s former brother-in-law.

Markel had been involved in a bitter divorce with Wendi Adelson, who filed for divorce in 2012. Markel later learned that she and their two children had moved to her parents’ home in Coral Springs.

In June 2013, a Leon County judge denied Wendi Adelson’s petition for relocation with the children to South Florida. A police affidavit stated: “Email evidence indicates Wendi’s parents, especially her mother, wanted Wendi to coerce Markel into allowing the relocation to South Florida”.

Early in 2014, Markel tried to enforce the judge’s ruling, claiming Donna made disparaging remarks about him to the children. He asked the court to limit the amount of time Donna spent with the children to prevent disparaging remarks. A hearing on the issue was postponed and hadn’t been rescheduled when Markel was murdered in the driveway of his Tallahassee home in July 2014.

One of the other defendants found guilty in the Markel murder had been receiving paychecks from the Adelson’s dental business. Investigators noticed “a significant increase in cash deposits” after Markel’s death.

Markel’s former wife, Wendi Adelson, testified that she didn’t think her brother had been involved in Markel’s murder.

She said that her brother gave her a television as a divorce present and that he joked it had been cheaper than hiring a hit man.

After Charlie Adelson was convicted, Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman told reporter that the investigation was ongoing.

The WPTV article is here.