Take the necessary steps and precautions needed to move your child.
Under Florida law, if a custodial parent wants to move more than 50 miles from their current address, the parent must have the approval of the family law court that has jurisdiction over the case. Even if both parents agree to the move, without court approval, the court may later modify its custody order or hold the relocating party in contempt.
When both parents agree to the move
Even when the non-custodial parent agrees with the relocation, the two parents are required to prepare an agreement in writing and file it with the court. The document must inform the court of the arrangements they have made for visitation and transportation for the visitation.
Petition for relocation
When there is no agreement between the parents, the parent wanting to relocate must file a petition with the court requesting a court order allowing the relocation. The petition must provide the following information for the court’s consideration:
- The reasons that make the relocation necessary. If it is in response to a job offer, a copy of the written job offer must be submitted with the petition.
- The date the move is expected to take place along with the new address.
- Provisions that have been made for visitation and transportation.
The petition must be served on the noncustodial parent who may either voice no opinion or respond by presenting the court with written objections to the move. The court will then order a hearing to determine whether or not to allow the relocation. At the hearing, both parties will be allowed to present documentary evidence as well as witness testimony.
Factors the court considers in making its decision
First and foremost, the court always considers what is in the best interest of the children. This means the relocation must benefit the children and not just be for the custodial parent’s convenience. Some factors the court considers include:
- The extent, if any, the relocation will interfere with the relationship with the noncustodial parent.
- Whether the relocation will have a negative effect on the emotional development and education of the children.
- Whether the move will interfere with any other significant relationships, such as those with step-siblings or grandparents.
- The desires of the children if they are old enough to voice an opinion.
Whether you are a relocating parent, or parent who objects to relocation or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected].