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Child relocation in Florida

Divorcing with the added variable of a child always makes proceedings so much harder. You are facing the emotional, mental and maybe financial strains of divorce, while also knowing that your child is feeling similar stress. When the divorce is finally finalized, it may seem like the perfect time to get a fresh start in a new town. Don’t be too hasty, though, doing so may violate the law.

If you are planning to move as the custodial parent, odds are you will have to obtain permission to do so. This is a law based on Florida's relocation statue which states you must give notice to the other parent or petition court before moving a significant distance.

Florida courts believe that, in most cases, a child benefits most when they have a relationship with both of their parents. Because of this, if you are relocating to another state or more than 50 miles away from your current residence, you must either receive written permission from the other parent or a court to do so.

When the other parent agrees to your plan to move

Relocation agreements are a bit easier if your child’s other parent does not object to your plan to move. If this is the case, you and the non-custodial parent will need to draft your agreement in writing with proper legal terms.

While not as technically involved as a court case, ensuring that the agreement is legally sound can be a complex process. The assistance of a family law attorney and having the agreement approved by a court before relocating is highly recommended so that you may avoid possible complications in the future.

When the other parent does not agree to your plan to move

If your child’s other parent does not consent to your move, you will need to petition the appropriate court to allow your relocation. This may seem intimidating, but so long as you have a legitimate reason for moving, such as being offered a new job, it is a matter of presenting the correct forms.

Be aware that, among other things, these forms will require you to disclose:

  • The physical address of the new residence
  • The mailing address of the new residence, if different
  • The home telephone number of your new residence
  • The date on which you intend to move
  • Specific details of why you wish to move
  • Why you feel this move is in the best interests of your child

These forms can be complex and are likely to be rejected for even minor clerical errors. The aid of a professional can mean the difference between being allowed to move and not.

Being legally covered before moving is of paramount importance. Failing to do so can lead to being held in contempt, being compelled to return to your previous residence and other serious repercussions.

Relocating after divorce can mean new opportunities for you and your child. There is nothing wrong with using either of these methods to move – just make sure you pursue one of them.

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