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Relocating a Child after Divorce

Posted on July 3, 2015

If a child is involved in a divorce case, some of the most important aspects of the separation are determining child custody and visitation rights. However, sometimes situations arise when one parent wishes to relocate with the child, either for personal or professional reasons. Florida has strict rules in place dictating when a parent is allowed to relocate with a child of divorce.

Florida Parental Relocation Law

Under Fla. Stat. 61.13001, parental relocation refers to “a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing.” In order for the law to apply, the parent must be moving at least 50 miles away, even if the relocation remains in the state, and be for at least 60 consecutive days.

Relocation by Agreement

If both of the parents agree to the relocation of the child, the process is fairly simple. The parents simply file a written agreement with the court that consents to the move. It must also include any proposals to the visitation schedule and the court must approve it before the move takes place.

Objection to Relocation

If the non-custodial parent objects to the relocation of the child, then the custodial parent must file a petition with the court for approval to move. The petition must include the following:

  • The physical location of the new home;
  • The date of the move;
  • Specific reasons why the custodial parent is moving;
  • Proposals for visitation modification and transportation arrangements; and
  • Notice to the non-custodial parent.

If the non-custodial parent fails to respond to the petition in court, the judge presumes that the move is in the child’s best interests and will typically allow it. However, if the non-custodial parent responds to the petition there must be a trial to determine what the best interests of the child are and whether the relocation should be allowed.

Relocation without Approval

If the custodial parent relocates with the child before the court gives its approval the judge can hand down serious penalties to that parent. The custodial parent can be held in contempt of court and can face fines or jail time if they do not comply. In addition, the custodial parent can be compelled to return the child to the previous home. Finally, the non-custodial parent can use the relocation without approval to petition for modification of visitation or custody of the child as well as for court costs and attorneys’ fees for the proceeding.

Contact Our Office Today

At Stok Kon + Braverman we understand how emotional and stressful the issue of child relocation can be. Call the office or contact us today if you or someone that you know in Fort Lauderdale is facing family law problems for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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