When you are divorced, what happens to child custody if a parent moves?
In many divorce cases it is not so unusual that one parent might move to another location. By far this is perhaps the most difficult area of custody law. What is taken under consideration first and foremost is what is in the best interest of the child.
In some cases one parent remarries and moves away because the new spouse has a job or family elsewhere. It could be interpreted parent is preferring the new spouse over what is best for the child.
The court considers how relocation will affect the child and the motivation for the move.If the move is a mile away the fallout may be minimal; however, forty five minutes away can change the whole scenario. A new school district, new friends and a 90 minute round trip for visitation rights
Let’s say the move is 3,000 miles away then everything changes. Transportation becomes an issue. A 3 year old cannot fly alone not to mention the cost of flying.
These are just few of the variables that can occur. There are many more issues that can arise involving parental relocation. Rest assured that the Florida courts are very strict when it comes to these issues. It all comes down to what is in the best for the child
The burden of proof incumbent upon the parent who moves is to affirmatively show that the move is in the best interest of the child, the move is more likely to be permissible.
In the event that there is a court case it is advisable to have all your ducks lined up and all the information you need involving this issue.
Variables to consider when a divorce couple is facing parental relocation
- Long distance move
- Moving to a foreign country
- Moving out of spite
- Job transfer
- School district
- Trying to manipulate a child (“choose me… I’ll give you a car”)
- Better location
The relocation issue can be addressed in advance through an agreement between the parties. But remember, agreements affecting the rights of children can always be reviewed by the court if circumstances change.
In cases like this, you need to feel secure in the knowledge that your lawyer will do everything in his or her power to protect your rights.
Avoiding and Resolving Parental Relocation Problems
The parenting plan presented to the family court will specify detailed rights, responsibilities and logistical considerations concerning each divorced parent’s access to the children, subject to minor adjustments as needs and circumstances change over time.
If a parent proposes moving away with a child, however, so that the other parent loses regular access to the child, Florida law requires the parent desiring to move to follow a procedure set forth in the applicable statute. If procedures are not followed, the parent can face serious ramifications that may affect his or her parental access under Florida law
If you need advice about your rights on either side of a proposal to relocate with a child, contact Brodie & Friedman, P.A., to discuss your situation with one of the best and seasoned Parental Relocation Lawyer.
If you’re the parent proposing relocation with a child, you should understand right away that court permission is both necessary and hard to get if the other parent opposes the move. Another option, of course, will be to negotiate for the other parent’s consent. The court will still need to find that the relocation is in the child’s best interest, but at least you won’t need to refute opposing arguments.
Florida Requirements in Parental Relocation Cases
Under Florida’s new parental relocation statute, if a parent wishes to move the child’s primary residence more than 50 miles, the parent must first obtain written consent of the other parent or obtain the court’s approval.
- Parental relocation agreements: If the other parent agrees to the relocation, it is necessary to establish a written agreement that not only establishes his or her approval, but that also addresses how parental access will be maintained for the non-relocating parent. The agreement may address how the parenting plan will need to be modified, such as how holidays and school vacations will be divided and other changes in the visitation/time-sharing schedule. Additionally, it may address how travel costs will be allocated. Finally, the relocation agreement must be approved by the court.
- Contested parental relocation: A parent wishing to relocate must first provide the other parent with appropriate notification and allow sufficient time for the parent to object to the relocation. If the other parent contests the relocation request, the parent wishing to relocate must request the permission of the court. The court may consider many factors, including the reasons for the move, the relationships between each parent and the child, the time spent by the non-relocating parent with the child, whether the move will enhance the quality of life for the parent and child, the effect of relocation on visitation/time-sharing, and other factors affecting the best interests of the child. While decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, in most cases, if the non-relocating parent is an involved parent, the court will probably not approve a relocation that is greater than 50 miles from the child’s primary residence.
It is important to have experienced legal counsel whether you are seeking to relocate or you are challenging a relocation request by the other parent.
Whether your rights as a parent are covered under a child custody and visitation agreement or a recent parenting plan, the lawyers of Brodie & Friedman, P.A., can advise you about your options and protect your interests in court. For additional information, contact us and schedule a consultation.