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.