International Relocation with a Child
It is not uncommon for one or both of the parties to a divorce to need to relocate after their divorce decree has been issued. Whether the move is necessitated by a change in employment, personal reasons, or remarriage, parents are restricted from taking their children with them when they move without the approval of the other parent or the court. While there are specific rules in place to help address these kinds of issues, these situations can become even more complicated when one of the parents wants to relocate with the child to another country. Fortunately, in Florida, parents have rights to see their children regularly, so if your ex-spouse is attempting to relocate with your child, it is critical to speak with an experienced child relocation attorney who can ensure that your parental rights are respected and that the best interests of your child are protected.
In Florida, courts prefer to grant joint physical and legal custody of a child to both parents, as this is deemed in most cases, to be in the best interests of the child. When one parent attempts to move a considerable distance away from the other, this can create serious logistical and emotional hurdles to a shared parenting arrangement. This is doubly true if a parent wishes to relocate with a child to another country, as it becomes nearly impossible for a child to have both close and continual contact with both parents. For these reasons, the non-relocating parent would need to agree to the move in a written statement or the court would need to amend the parenting agreement and approve the move before the child could legally be taken out of the country. These steps are required for any move that is:
- More than 50 miles away from the principal residence of the relocating parent at the time that the parenting agreement was created; and
- Not temporary and lasts for more than two months.
These time limits do not include temporary absences undertaken for the purposes of vacation, education, or obtaining health care services for the child. Under Florida law, a non-relocating parent has 20 days to object to a child’s relocation. Otherwise, the court will presume that the move is in the child’s best interests and will most likely approve relocation. If a parent does object to the move and the other parent fails to seek court approval or the other parent’s consent, then he or she can be held in contempt of court and be ordered to return the child. The relocating parent’s behavior can also be used as a justification for amending the parenting plan in the non-relocating parent’s favor.
Talk to a Florida Child Relocation Attorney
There are a number of state and federal laws in place to address parental relocation with a child. Navigating these laws can be difficult, so if your ex-spouse is threatening to relocate with your child, please call experienced and compassionate Fort Lauderdale child relocation attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.