RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Transfer of Venue

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Family in need of attorney

The Gainesville – Ocala Family Law and Child Custody Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. discuss transfer of venue from one county within Florida to a court in another county within the state. Whether you are seeking to change venue, have a dispute over the other parent’s request to change venue, or wish to appeal a court’s prior ruling as to venue, it is important to understand your legal rights as a parent, as well as the procedures involved in terms of your role as either a petitioner or respondent.

Similar to jurisdictional issues, venue is one of those indispensable legal concepts, that parents simply must take into consideration, whether petitioner or respondent. Pursuant to Rules of Civil Practice and Procedure, Florida Statute §47.122 provides:

“For the convenience of the parties or witnesses or in the interest of justice, any court of record may transfer any civil action to any other court of record in which it might have been brought.” [Emphasis added]

In interpreting the statute, take note of the emphasized portions pertaining to ‘convenience’ and ‘justice.’ There are many reasons why venue may be contested or changed from one county to another. Some examples include:

    • A party may not be receive a fair trial in the county where a proceeding currently resides
    • The current venue presents a hardship to one or both parties
    • The parties mutually agree to a change in venue
    • Changing venue is in the best interests of the parties involved

Determining whether a change is venue is appropriate in your particular family law matter will depend on several factors. It is helpful for parents to consider the following inquires:

    • Who are the parties involved and what are their roles? (i.e. petitioner or respondent; requesting change or contesting change)
    • What is the nature of proceeding? (i.e. divorce, initial custody determination, supplemental proceeding, modification)
    • When is the request to transfer or objection to transfer being made? (i.e. time period following commencement of proceeding)
    • Where do/did the parties reside? (i.e. last residence shared by divorcing parties; current residence of each parent)
    • Why does a parent wish to transfer or object to transfer of venue? (i.e. convenience, relocation of parent, agreement between parties, in the interest of justice/ fairness to parties)

Given the numerous potential combinations of responses to the above inquiries, it is easy to see how venue matters can vary greatly from one case to another. Parents should know that it is possible for there to be more than one proper venue in a particular case. However, this does not mean that a party may simply change venue on their own initiative, without seeking court approval, and adhering to procedural rules as set forth by Florida law.

For example, where venue is proper in more than one county, and a modification is filed in an appropriate venue, it is generally improper to transfer it to another venue solely because venue is appropriate there as well. Likewise, where a petitioner has filed in a proper venue, and the respondent fails to properly assert an objection, the court may grant the request to transfer, if proper grounds exist for the change, even though venue may have also been appropriate in another county.

Parties to family law proceedings should also take note of time limitations pertaining to both requesting a change in venue, as well as contesting to the transfer. In general, request to change venue, also referred to as a ‘Motion for Change in Venue,’ must be filed within ten days following commencement of the proceeding. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as where a party can show that good cause exists for a party’s failure to motion the court within the time period set forth by Florida statutes.

Further, in some cases the court may allow a party to appear through alternate means such as via telephone or video conferencing, thereby alleviating the burden of having to travel to a county located far away from where a party resides. However, just as with changing venue, prior approval from the court must be obtained when a party that wishes to use an alternate appearance method.

Whether seeking, defending or appealing a venue change, parents should not arrive at their own conclusions or assumptions, prior to discussing the matter with an attorney. Parents must also remember that Florida courts have a significant amount of judicial discretion in ruling upon matters involved in family law proceedings. As such, it is helpful to consider the benefits of selecting an attorney that has appeared on behalf of other clients in the actual county in which your matter resides, or the county in which a matter is to be transferred to. The Gainesville Family Law Attorneys, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., have represented multiple clients in Alachua, Lake, Marion, and numerous other counties in North Central Florida area.