Moving the Kids: Does It Require a Change to a Divorce or Timesharing (Custody) Order in Florida?

We live in a mobile society, and some states, particularly states like Florida, have very transient populations.  Post-divorce moves are very common.  But, how do you deal with the idea of moving the kids away from the other parent?

First, let’s address some terms.  In Florida, we don’t say “custodial parent” or “CP” vs. “non-custodial-parent” or “NCP.”  These old terms seemed to make “custodial parents” think they were more in control of the children, or that they had veto power over the other parent.  In Florida, we use the term, “majority timesharing parent,” which is the parent with more overnights with the kids.  (I’m sure you’re thinking, what happens when parents have the same amount of timeshare, which seems to be the trend in Florida?  Good question, but I’ll have to leave it for another article.)

So what happens when the majority timesharing parent wants to move the children away from the residence where they lived most of the time when the divorce or paternity case happened?  If the move is less than fifty miles as the crow flies, no problem.  Florida law says that moving children less than 50 miles does not constitute a “substantial change of circumstances,” the legal standard necessary to take a parent to court to change timesharing orders.

What if the move is over 50 miles?  Problem.  Big problem.  REALLY big problem, because Florida law does not like when one parent moves kids away from the other parent.  In fact, it requires the permission of the other parent or a court order to move kids more than 50 miles, and the procedure is strict and technical. In part 2 of this article, I explain this procedure.

Any move that takes the kids less than 50 miles does not require a court order to change.  If the kids are moved less than 50 miles, there is nothing the minority timesharing parent can do, even if it now takes an hour to pick up the kids from school or the kids have to wake up at 5 a.m. to make it to school or it is too far to take kids to baseball practice, et c.

However, a move of less than 50 miles can still be a “substantial change of circumstances” (and thus the minority timesharing parent can file with the court to modify the timesharing arrangement) if the move involves more than just moving.  What if the kids are moving from an “A” school to a “D” school?  What if the kids are moving to a high-crime neighborhood?  What if the kids have been forced to move ten times within a year, but all the moves are still within the 50-mile radius?  All these things on top of a move can be reasons to allow the minority timeshare parent to file to change the timeshare agreement or order.

But if a move is over 50 miles, the parents must agree using a special procedure or get a court order BEFORE the move can happen.

Read PART 2 of this article here.

Call the Anton Legal Group at 813-443-5249 before you even think about moving kids after a divorce or paternity order or final judgment.