How Florida Courts Decide Relocation Cases

How Florida Courts Decide Relocation Cases

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 16-Oct-2018

Once a divorce is finalized, it is not uncommon for one parent to move to another location—perhaps even out of state—for a lucrative job opportunity or to even remarry. However, such a move would jeopardize the visitation schedule established by both parents, since the noncustodial parent would have to spend more money on travel and other costs.

According to Florida law, relocation is defined as a parent moving 50 miles or more away from the current residence. If both parents agree to the relocation, they must create and sign a written agreement which details the terms of the move and new custody arrangement for the non-relocating parent.

However, if the parents do not agree to the move, the parent wishing to relocate needs to file a petition with the court and serve it to the other party. The address and phone number of the proposed new location, the potential date of the move, the reasons for relocation, the proposed post-relocation visitation schedule, and the proposed transportation plan must be included in the petition.

The non-relocating parent has 20 days to respond. The non-relocating parent’s response must include reasons why relocation shouldn’t be granted and how much he/she is part of the child’s life.

When determining whether or not to approve a relocation request, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The child’s age and specific needs
  • How the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child can continue
  • The costs and logistics to continue visitation between the non-relocating parent and child
  • How the move will affect the child’s development
  • The child’s preference (if mature enough)
  • If the move will improve the lives of the relocating parent and child
  • The parents’ reasons for and against the move
  • If the move is required for financial reasons
  • If the move is in good faith
  • If the non-relocating parent is up to date on child support and alimony payments
  • If one of the parents has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse
  • Any other condition that has an impact on the child’s best interest.

The court can approve the relocation request without a court hearing if the non-relocating parent fails to respond. However, if a relocating parent attempts to move with the child without obtaining the court’s permission, he/she may be subject to contempt and other legal proceedings in order to return the child.

If you are interested in relocating your child from Florida, contact our Orlando family law attorney at R. Gregory Colvin today.

Categories: Divorce

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