Child Relocation

Understanding Your Rights When Relocating with a Child

The consequences of a divorce are widespread, and are especially difficult when children are involved in this process. In fact, child custody battles are often fraught with conflict, but lesser-known is the issue of child relocation, which occurs when a parent who has physical custody of a child desires to move more than 50 miles away from the other parent. This move can take place within a state or across state lines, but approval of such a move is always contingent upon whether it is in the best interests of the child or children involved.

Conflicts often arise when the other parent does not consent to the move, and the two parties are not able to come to an agreement. This usually means that you will have to go to court to resolve the dispute, but without an experienced family lawyer, you may not obtain the outcome you desire.

Common Factors That Are Considered in Child Relocation Cases

Although each state has specific requirements for filing a child custody relocation request, there are some common factors that judges consider, which include:

  • Destination – in some states, the distance of the relocation is a major factor in determining approval. Destinations within a state may be viewed more favorably than destinations out of state.
  • Express Consent – if a divorce decree includes an express consent agreement that one parent can relocate in the future, and designates a visitation agreement for the other parent, then the court will likely view the proposed relocation more favorably.
  • Notice and Consent – in some states you may have to provide notice to the other parent within a specified time period prior to the move. That alone may not win you approval, because the other parent can still file a motion to prevent the move.
  • Good Faith – this means that you must provide a good faith reason why you are moving, remembering that you will be taking a child out of familiar situations such as school, neighborhood and friends.

Child Relocation Rules in Florida

In Florida, every divorce must include a parenting plan and time-sharing agreement which lays out how both parents will raise their child together, including visitation schedules and any possible relocation. A custodial

A parent that wishes to move with a child must file what is known as a Notice of Intent to Relocate, which is not only filed with the court, but must also be given to the other parent, or anyone else who was named in the parenting plan and time-sharing documents.

By law, that person has 30 days to respond to the petition in writing, and you cannot move your child until a judge has heard the petition.

After the filing, a judge will review the petition and in Florida, the most important considerations include:

  • How old is the child?
  • Does the relocation request violate the existing visitation schedule?
  • What is the state of the relationship between the child and the non-moving parent?
  • Are both parents financially and emotionally stable?
  • Does the parenting and time-sharing plan include a relocation clause?
  • How much time does the non-moving parent spend with the child?
  • Is there any history of abuse related to the parent?
  • Does the child have any special needs that would be adversely affected by the move?

As with all legal issues involving children and divorce, the relocation petition is always going to be measured against the best interests of your child. If a judge determines that moving a child will adversely affect that child, the request may be denied.

Representing You In Family Court

If you have filed a child relocation petition, or you are contesting a petition, please contact the family law firm of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at 561-655-844 for an initial legal consultation. We understand all the child relocation rules and regulations that are essential to these cases, and can provide you with expert legal representation.