Fla. Stat. 61.20 is the authorizing law for a social investigation report. There is no express limit on the time during which the report remains valid. In fact, the last sentence in subd. (1) provides, "The court may consider the information contained in the study in making a decision on the parenting plan
, and the technical rules of evidence do not exclude the study from consideration."
Under the ordinary rules of evidence, "Evidence can be either remote in time or remote in the sense of being too attenuated, i.e., not relevant." Donahue v. Albertson's Inc., 472 So.2d 482 (1985). Also, "The general rule that remoteness in point of time goes to weight rather than admissibility of the evidence applies except when the time is so far removed as to deprive the circumstances of any evidentiary value."Gallagher v. L.K. Restaurant & Motels, Inc., 481 So.2d 562 (1986).
Frankly, I doubt that the Florida Legislature was thinking about abandoning all of the rules of evidence by supplying the statement re "technical rules of evidence," and social investigation reports. The statement was probably intended to permit admission of a report which would ordinarily be inadmissible upon timely objection as hearsay.
Unfortunately, there is no case law directly interpreting this inconsistency. If I were the judge, I would probably admit the report, but I would also state on the record that the remoteness of the report may cause me to accord it little weight in the current action.
But, I'm not the judge, so who knows how your judge will use the report. I wish I could be more definitive here -- but, it's a very difficult question, you've posed.
Hope this helps.