Advice for Parents Seeking To Relocate or Fight Relocation
Dealing with divorce, child custody, spousal support, etc. is difficult enough without also having to deal with a relocation issue, whether it is avoidable or not. That being said, it is not the intention of Florida law to prevent you from moving or locating where you need to be, but there are steps which, if taken, can make the process more strategic on your behalf.
It Is Easiest To Get Consent from the Other Parent
The easiest, most-cost effective path if you need to relocate with your child, or if your child’s parent is seeking to relocate, is to simply have the other parent provide written consent (relocation by agreement) to have your child stay with you. Although you can always petition the court instead, it is a far simpler process to simply handle the relocation issue amicably by contract.
When parents are in agreement, they fill out the relevant forms provided by the Florida Supreme Court. Note that these still need to be filed with the court, even if there is agreement.
If both parents are not in agreement, you can file a supplemental petition to permit relocation, asking the courts to permit the relocation.
The more specific information you have regarding the need for you and your child to either stay in the current location or relocate with you, the better. The court needs as much specific information as possible. Some of the information that could be helpful to gather prior to any sessions with your attorney could relate to:
- Any special relationships with family members in the current or new location;
- Any particular needs your child may have (developmentally) and how those needs are/can be addressed in the current or new location, including any particular schools they currently or can attend, activities, etc.;
- Ways that the child can preserve the relationship with the other parent (ex. visitation opportunities);
- Any preferences your child may have, as well as statements made indicating those preferences;
- Any benefits associated with the current or new location;
- Any economic needs for staying in current location or relocating (such as job offers); and
- Any other factors that may affect the best interests of the child.
It is generally easier to relocate with your child during the initial child custody proceedings versus having to modify court orders later on. In addition, you may find yourself needing to request that the court prevent the other parent from relocating with your child if you suspect that they may be planning to do so, particularly if they have full physical and legal custody. If this is the case, it needs to be made clear to the court that the other parent does not have your permission to relocate with your child as soon as possible.
Obtain the Assistance of an Experienced Child Custody Attorney
If you are considering relocating your child, or your child’s parent may relocate with your child, contact our office to schedule a consultation. We can answer any questions you have and get you started in protecting your and your child’s interests. We serve clients in and around Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Dania, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton, North Miami Beach, Opa Locka, Delray Beach, Miami, Hialeah, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County.