Whether driven by new career opportunities or merely a desire to make a fresh start, relocating is an issue that many individuals deal with after divorce. When that relocation involves children, it is important to consider the legal implications surrounding your move.
What is considered “relocation”? Florida defines relocation after the commencement of a dissolution of marriage or other family law action as any move at least 50 miles away from the parent’s current residence for a duration of at least sixty days.
What if both parents agree to the move?
If both parents agree to the move, they can sign a relocation agreement voluntarily. The agreement must reflect the new location; consent to the location by all interested parties; define a time-sharing schedule for all non-relocating interested parties and outline transportation arrangements.
What if both parents do NOT agree to the move?
If the parents do not agree, the mother or father seeking the move must file a Petition to Relocate Minor Children with the circuit court. Their goal is to show the court that the move is in the child’s best interest. The noncustodial parent then has 30 days to respond to the petition and oppose the move by filing:
- An objection with the court to block the move
- In addition, the objecting party may file a petition to modify child custody on the grounds that a change in custody is the only way to keep a relationship with their child
In the situation where there is a pending case for a contested relocation, a court may grant a temporary order allowing relocation before the court’s permanent decision.
What factors does the court consider in contested relocation?
- The parent’s reasons for moving
- Both parents’ economic circumstances
- Impact on the child’s and both parent’s quality of life
- The child’s preference
- The relocating parent’s willingness and plan to maintain the other parent’s relationship with the child.
- The financial viability of the timesharing proposed by the relocating parent
- Other relevant considerations
What if a parent chooses to relocate without court approval?
If a couple’s dissolution of marriage terms included a parenting plan or limits on relocating with children, relocating without a judge’s approval will likely have legal consequences. A state court may begin contempt proceedings against that parent (which could ultimately result in jail time, a fine, or other sanctions) requiring the child to be returned to the other parent and/or use the relocation as grounds for changing the timesharing arrangement in favor of the other parent.
What if both parents would like to avoid going to court?
One of the most effective and amicable ways to reach an agreement without going to court is by utilizing formal mediation. A mediator is an impartial third party trained to help people resolve issues such as child custody. To speak with a lawyer about your relocation concerns, please contact us online or call 561-478-0312. Charles D. Jamieson proudly represents clients in West Palm Beach, Florida and surrounding areas including Stuart, Jupiter, Boca Raton and Coral Springs.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding dissolution of marriage while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.