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Relocation and Custody

Custody issues in a divorced family can escalate into full-blown battles, especially if one parent intends to relocate with a child.

In Florida, custodial parents have the legal right to move up to 50 miles from their current location without notification to the non-custodial parent. If a move is more than 50 miles for longer than two months, notification is required. Even if both parents agree to the move, notice must be filed with the court. If parents do not agree on the move, a judge will need to approve the move, which he or she will do based on the best interest of the child.

If you are the custodial parent filing a petition of relocation with the court, you need to include information such as:

  • Date of proposed move
  • Physical location, mailing address, and new phone number, if there is one
  • Reason for the move
  • Proposal for parenting and visitation following the move
  • Transportation arrangements for visitation
  • Explanation of how your child’s non-custodial parent can object to the move

Unless your child’s non-custodial parent responds to the petition to move with an objection, the judge will assume the move is in your child’s best interest and approve it.

What Happens If an Upcoming Move is Challenged by My Child’s Other Parent?

Your child’s non-custodial parent has the right to object a relocation further than 50 miles from your current location. If he or she responds to your petition to move with an objection, a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether or not the move is in the best interest of your child. The court wants to ensure the move will not be traumatic for your child before it gives approval.

When determining whether or not a move is healthy, the court will consider:

  • Child’s relationship with moving and non-moving parent, siblings, and other important people in the child’s life
  • Impact of the move on the child’s physical, mental, and emotional development
  • Ability to preserve the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent
  • Preference of the child (when the child is old enough)
  • Opportunity for the move to improve the lives of the moving parent and child
  • Reasons for relocation
  • Reasons for objection to the relocation
  • History of abuse

It’s important for both the moving and non-moving parent to work with an experienced attorney when a relocation is proposed. There is a limited amount of time in which to object to a relocation and if the deadline is missed or objection mishandled, the court will automatically approve the move.

It’s also important to have an attorney on your side representing your best interest, protecting your parental rights, and considering the well-being of your child. If a move is in the best interest of your child and you are confident you and your child will have a better life, you have a right to take action.

Of course, no parent deserves to be prevented from spending time with his or her child because the child’s other parent wishes to relocate on a whim or out of spite. And when a move is necessary and for the best for your child, you still need to ensure your rights as a parent are protected.

For more information or to discuss how a potential relocation could affect your parental rights, contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 or use our online contact form to request information.

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  • Call (813) 254-5696 anytime, or use this contact form, for your free initial consultation.
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