After a couple has made the difficult decision to separate or divorce, it’s possible that one parent elects to relocate with their child.
This can be a point of contention because, should the move be out of state, it means that the child won’t be able to continue the previously established visitation schedule with both parents. Any attempt to maintain the existing schedule would be met with significant travel and escalated costs.
That’s why it’s important for parents to understand the legal guidelines regarding the relocation process.
How Is Relocation Determined?
Relocation in Florida is defined as any situation where a parent moves 50 miles or more away from their current home for a period of 60 days or more. It’s important to note that a relocation is not temporary – like a vacation, for example.
Before granting a relocation order, judges will consider several factors, including:
- The minor child’s relationship with both parents
- The age and immediate needs of the child
- The impact that relocating will have on the child
- Whether or not the child and the non-relocating parent can maintain a relationship
- The cost and logistics involved with maintaining regular visitation between the child and non-relocating parent
- Whether or not the relocation improves the lives of the parent and the child
- The reasons behind the relocation
- Whether or not the relocation is necessary for financial reasons
- The preference of the child
- Whether the relocating parent has complied with existing court orders related to child support and divorce
- Whether either parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Any other factors that impact the overall wellbeing of the child
Although it is often a judge that will order a relocation order, it is possible for parents to reach an agreement that details the terms of the relocation and the new custody terms. However, that agreement must:
- Demonstrate that both parents are in agreement when it comes to the relocation
- Establish a time-sharing schedule that the non-relocating parent agrees to
- State how parents will handle the transportation of their child during visitation periods
Once both parents have reached an agreement, they must file it with the court in order to have it ratified and officially recognized.
Can Relocation Be Disputed?
However, if both parents cannot reach an agreement regarding relocation, the parent intending to relocate must file an official petition with the court against the other parent. That petition must include critical information, such as:
- The date of relocation
- The reasons behind relocation, including job offers, if applicable
- A proposed visitation schedule after relocation
- A proposed plan to transport the child to and from visitation
If you have a dispute related to a proposed relocation, or if you are currently debating a relocation order, it is important that you contact an attorney specializing in family law as soon as possible.
Relocation Attorneys in Florida
At Anton Legal Group, our attorneys specialize in all facets of family law, including cases where there is proposed minor child relocation. Whether you are the relocating parent, or the non-relocating parent, we can work with you to analyze your circumstances and determine the best course of legal action.
To explore your legal options with our highly-skilled attorneys, contact Anton Family Law Group today at (831) 443-5249.