Child Relocation: What You Need to Know Before You Move

In Florida, if a parent moves 50 miles or more from the residence they occupied when the last time-sharing schedule was filed with the court, this is considered a relocation.  If you have a minor child and are considering relocating after a divorce, there are a few things you need to know.

First and foremost, your parenting time agreement may require modification due to the move. If you move first, without filing the appropriate paperwork with the court and, if necessary, having a hearing on the issue, you could be subject to contempt proceedings.  Additionally, a move without court approval could result in a proceeding to compel the return of your child.

The process for child relocation varies depending on whether both parents, or another party with legal access to the child, agree or disagree with the move.

When All Parties Are in Agreement about the Move

When all parties are in agreement, a move can be accomplished without a court appearance. Paperwork must still be filed, however.  The parent’s written agreement must include:

  • Consent to the relocation
  • Details of the time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent
  • Transportation arrangements related to the time-sharing schedule

The agreement must be signed and properly filed with the court.

When All Parties Are Not in Agreement about the Move

When all parties don’t agree to child relocation, the procedure is somewhat different.  In this case, the parent seeking relocation must file a petition with the court.  The petition must include:

  • The new location, including city, state, and address
  • Date of intended move
  • A detailed statement about why the parent is proposing relocation
  • A proposed timesharing agreement, including proposed transportation arrangements

This petition must be properly filed and served.

If the parent who is served does not respond, the proposed child relocation is presumed to be in the child’s best interests.  If the parent who is served does respond with an objection, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether child relocation is in the best interests of the child.

There are a number of factors the court may consider when evaluating the child’s best interests.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent
  • The nature of the relationship of the child with non-relocating extended family
  • Age of the child
  • The child’s preference
  • Reasons for relocation

As with any area of family law relating to decisions impacting children, courts also may consider “any other factor” that affects the best interests of the child.

Are You Considering Moving with Your Child?

If you are considering child relocation, the law requires you take certain steps prior to the move.  Failure to do so could result in an unfavorable court decision.  Contact Eric C. Cheshire at  for  your personal and confidential consultation.

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