Can a parent with primary custody move a great distance from the other parent? Should a court place the child in the care of the non-custodial parent instead? How can a move affect an existing child custody agreement?
When to Involve the Court
The state of Florida affirms that a relocation is when a parent moves more than 50 miles away from their current residence for more than 60 days. It does not consider a temporary change of residence as a relocation.
If the parents agree on the relocation, they can sign a contract stating the terms of this new custody arrangement. This contract should:
- Illustrate that both parents agree on the relocation
- Set a new custody schedule for the non-relocating parent
- Explain how the parents will transport the child for visitation
If the parents are not in agreement on the relocation, the parent who would like to move must file a petition. The petition must include:
- The address and phone number (if applicable) of the place the parent would like to relocate
- The date of the relocation
- The reasons the relocating parent would like to move
- The restructured visitation schedule
- The proposed transportation plan
The non-relocating parent will be served with a notice of the petition and must file a response within 20 days. If they do not respond, the court can grant the request for relocation without a hearing. The response should include a statement from the non-relocating parent indicating why the move should not be authorized.
If the relocating parent does so without approval from the non-relocating parent and the court, a judge could find them in contempt. In addition, a judge will take a move of this type into account when determining whether to order the parent to return to Florida with the child, pay the non-relocating parent’s court fees, modify the custody agreement in favor of the non-relocating parent, or impose any penalties.
How Courts Determine Whether to Allow Child Relocation
The Florida court rules in favor of the child’s best interest. This means, when deciding to grant a relocation, the court will consider the following factors:
- The child’s relationship with both parents
- The child’s age and needs
- The impact the move could have on the child’s development
- The ability of the non-relocating parent to maintain their relationship with the child
- The cost to maintain the relationship of the non-relocating parent and their child
- The child’s preference (if old enough to have one)
- Whether the relocation could improve the life of the child
- The non-relocating parent’s reason against the relocation
- The relocating parent’s reason for the move
- Whether the relocation will improve the relocating parent’s standard of living
- Whether the non-relocating parent has complied with the prior custody arrangement
- Whether either parent has a history of drug abuse or domestic violence
Our Relocation Attorney Is Here for You
Whether you are the parent seeking to relocate with your child or the parent attempting to prevent the move, Attorney Hershkowitz can help. Our lawyer can pursue the best interests for you and your child.
Contact our firm online or call us at (407) 753-4111 for your complimentary consultation.