Divorce is a stressful time for all parties involved. It is a life-changing situation especially when children are involved. The stress is exacerbated further when custodial parent relocation becomes a point of contention. If a parent wants to implement a child relocation after divorce, the matter becomes even more complex and sometimes more contentious.
Florida Law: Child Relocation After Divorce
Florida Statutes concerning relocation are focused on what is best for minor children and protecting the rights of non-custodial parents. If the relocation means moving more than 50 miles from the non-custodial parent, the relocating parent will have to inform the courts and the former spouse by using the Intent to Relocate form. The laws specify formal written consent. However, even when the other party consents, the Court may still step in to review the petition.
When the Ex-spouse Objects
The non-custodial parent has 30 days to contest the petition in writing. Relocation cannot take place until after the petition has been heard and decided by a judge. Cases involving child relocation after divorce cannot normally be adjudicated in a day, so plan for a waiting period when scheduling the moving van.
Factors Considered in Custodial Parent Relocation Cases
In most cases, the custodial parent’s decision to move is well intentioned. Relocation may be due to a job opportunity or the need to be closer to the family who can help with childcare. Nonetheless, procedures are in place to ensure that the move will not interfere with the visitation agreement set forth in the divorce decree. The primary custodial parent must be prepared to offer alternatives should the move limit the non-custodial parent’s ability to spend time with the child.
The Court will also focus on how relocation will affect the children’s quality of life specifically their relationship with the other parent and other people important to them. An emotional, mental and physical impact of child relocation will be examined in detail during the hearings, taking into consideration the child’s age and any special needs that should be addressed.
Other relocation factors that will be taken into consideration include justifications cited by the parent contesting the petition along with any allegations of abuse or neglect on the part of either party.
The Role of a Lawyer In Child Relocation after divorce Cases
The custodial parent needs to present a compelling case in front of the judge hearing the case. Family courts are attuned to the dynamics of divorce and would not look favorably on any party seeking to skirt the conditions of the divorce decree. It is best to consult an attorney with relevant experience, knowledge of local laws and familiarity with relocation factors to make sure that the petition moves forward in a timely manner. After all, it is in the best interests of minor children that parents are able to move on with their lives.