Going through a divorce is a challenging experience for everyone in the family. Following a divorce, you may consider making some life changes. One of the changes may be to move out of the area. You may want to take a job in another city, or you might prefer to move closer to your family. If you have shared parenting of your children, picking up and moving is not always easy. You will need to get approval from the other parent and/or the court if you want to relocate with your child.
What is Relocation?
When you simply want to move across town, you will not need permission from the courts or from the other parent. However, if you want to move further than 50 miles away, Florida statutes consider it relocation. Relocation applies when a parent will move further away than 50 miles and plans to stay at that location for longer than 60 days. Relocation rules do not apply to people taking their children on vacation or for traveling for medical care. Florida law requires you to obtain permission before you relocate with your child.
Agreement from the Other Parent
When the other parent approves of your relocation, you will need to obtain a written agreement. The agreement must include a time-sharing plan that provides access to the child by the parent who is not relocating. This may detail how and when the visitation will occur and who will pay for transportation. Both parents must agree and sign the agreement in order for the court to approve the decision. This is the best and most amicable option for both parents and children.
When the Other Parent Opposes Relocation
More often than not, the other parent does not agree to relocation. When that happens, the parent must petition the court. The petition will include the address of your new home, the date you plan to relocate, the reason for the relocation, a visitation schedule and plan for transportation of the child for visitation. Your spouse has 20 days to respond or object to the petition. The judge will review the matter and make a determination as to whether to allow relocation or not. You must have a valid reason for moving, such as employment.
Keep in mind that the judge has the final decision in the matter. Just because you petition for relocation does not mean the judge will grant your request. The courts will always do what is in the best interest of the child. It is a good idea to begin the relocation request process as soon as possible because it can take some time to complete. In the meantime, you cannot move with your child. When time is of the essence, it might be best to try to resolve the situation with your former spouse to obtain approval, if you fear they will not approve.
An experienced family law attorney will help you navigate the system and assist you with a relocation agreement or petition. Contact our legal team at Henderson Legal Group today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.