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Relocation After Divorce in Florida

After divorce, many custodial parents may choose to move to another town, city, or even state with their children. While relocation is allowed, especially when the noncustodial parent approves the proposed move, a custodial parent may still have to seek court approval before moving. 

Relocation is not a temporary change, such as going on vacation, providing a child with medical care in another city or state, or any educational related. According to Florida law, if the proposed move is more than 50 miles from the original home, a custodial parent must either obtain a written agreement from the other parent or file a petition to relocate with the court. 

If the Parents Agree to the Move 

A written agreement details the terms of the move and new custody arrangements to ensure the noncustodial parent has a continuing and loving relationship with his/her child. If the noncustodial parent approves the proposed move, both parties can create and file a signed contract with the court without a formal hearing. 

The written agreement must contain the following information: 

  • A new or modified time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent 

  • How each parent will handle transportation associated with visitation 

  • Both parents agree to the proposed move 

If the Noncustodial Parent Rejects the Move 

On the other hand, if the noncustodial parent does not approve of the relocation, the relocating parent must file a petition with the court and serve the other parent, who will then have 20 days to file a response. Remember, if a parent attempts to relocate without first filing a petition and obtaining court approval, the moving parent may be subject to contempt of court, which carries harsh consequences and potentially criminal penalties. 

The petition must include the following information: 

  • The address of the new location 

  • The date of the proposed move 

  • The reasons for the relocation and associated documents, such as proof of job offer, information of family members residing in the area, and educational opportunities for the child 

  • The proposed time-sharing schedule after the move 

  • The proposed plan for transportation 

If the non-relocating parent responds to the petition, the response should include the reasons for the objection and how much he/she is part of the child’s life. If the non-relocating parent fails to respond to the petition, the court will approve the relocation request without a hearing. 

It is important to understand that there is no presumption in favor or against the parent requesting the relocation. The relocating parent must show the court that the proposed move is in the best interests of the child, while the non-relocating parent must prove the relocation is not in the child’s best interests. 

The following are the common factors a judge will consider when deciding a relocation case: 

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child 

  • The child’s age, needs, and preferences (if old enough) 

  • How the move will affect the child’s development 

  • If the proposed move will improve the lives of the parent and child, such as a better job opportunity that earns more money to provide for the child, being surrounding by more family members who could care for the child, or being part of a community that offers better educational opportunities or medical care 

  • The non-moving parent’s reasons against the proposed move 

  • If the non-moving parent can still maintain a continued relationship with the child 

  • The cost and logistics of a new time-sharing schedule 

  • If the non-relocating parent has a history of domestic violence or alcohol/drug abuse 

Whether you are interested in filing a petition to relocate or objecting a petition in South Miami, contact Beatriz Zyne, P.A. today at (305) 876-6138 for a confidential consultation. Se habla español!