Understanding Florida Custody Relocation Laws

Picture of co-parent conflictThere are numerous reasons why a parent may wish to relocate with his or her children. A new job, a new marriage or moving closer to your family can all be good reasons to move. However, if you share custody, relocating with your children in Florida is not easy. Child relocation in Florida is only allowed in certain situations, and only when it is in the best interests of the children.

Florida child relocation laws are complex. Before deciding to move with your children, it is important to understand child relocation. It is also important to familiarize yourself with all the Florida child relocation statutes. Education and preparation will give you the best chances of relocating with your children, even if the other parent is unsupportive. Our experienced West Palm Beach child custody lawyer can review your situation and help you improve your chances of winning your child relocation case.

What Is Child Relocation in Florida?

Florida child relocation statutes define child relocation as any change to the location of the principal residence of a parent. Relocation is at least 50 miles from the principal residence for more than 60 consecutive days. Relocation is not a temporary move, such as a move for education or medical care purposes.

Due to the distance of relocation, the move would affect the other parent’s ability to spend time with his or her children. It may also impair his or her ability to meet the requirements of the child custody agreement. As such, the courts do not approve of child relocation in Florida unless it is in the best interests of the children.

How Can a Parent Relocate?

Below, our West Palm Beach child custody lawyer explains child relocation in Florida and how the process works for the parent intending to move.

Reach an Agreement

Child relocation in Florida is easiest if both parents agree to the relocation of the child or children. Parents may come to an agreement by both signing a written document that outlines the move and the new time-sharing schedule for both parents. The signed document must show:

  • Both parents agree to the move
  • New time-sharing schedule for the other parent
  • New proposed transportation schedule for visitation periods

Once both parents sign the document, the courts will often approve this new proposal without the need for a formal hearing.

File a Petition to Relocate

If both parents cannot come to an agreement about the relocation, the parent who wishes to relocate must file a petition to relocate with the court. This petition must include the following information:

  • Address and phone number of the place the parent wishes to relocate
  • Date of relocation
  • Reasons for relocation
  • Proposed visitation schedule
  • Proposed plan for transportation

The parent will have this petition served to the non-relocating parent. The non-relocating parent has 20 days to file a response. If the non-relocating parent misses this deadline, the Court can grant the relocation request without a formal hearing.

Attend a Formal Hearing

If the other parent objects to the move, both parents will attend a formal hearing. The relocating parent has the burden of proving that the move is in the child’s best interest. During the hearing, the Court will consider a variety of child relocation factors when determining whether or not to grant the relocation. The Court’s primary concern is whether a move is in the best interests of the child. To determine this, the Court will consider:

  • Child’s relationship with both parents
  • Child’s age and needs
  • Ability to maintain a relationship between the child and non-relocating parent
  • Cost and logistics to maintain visitation
  • Child’s preference
  • Parents’ reasons for and against the relocation
  • Whether the relocation will improve the lives of both the parent and child
  • Any history of domestic abuse or substance abuse

Contact a West Palm Beach Child Custody Lawyer

Child relocation laws in Florida aim to protect the children and do what is best for them. Yet, both parents also have legal rights, which is why relocation laws exist.

Our experienced West Palm Beach child custody attorney can help you through this difficult time and protect your parenting rights. Contact The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire P.A. today to learn more about child custody and the Florida relocation process. Call us at (561) 655-8844 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. We can guide you every step of the way.

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