Relocating After Divorce
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is that the decisions you make during the proceedings may affect your life in ways that you didn’t anticipate later on down the road. This tends to crop up most often when a former spouse and co-parent decides to move after a divorce has been finalized. It’s important to understand how these kinds of decisions can affect existing divorce agreements, especially those that pertain to child custody.
Florida’s Parental Relocation Laws
Florida law has very strict rules when it comes to parents relocating after divorce. For instance, parents who wish to relocate more than 50 miles from a current residence are required to provide written notice to their co-parent at least two months before the intended departure. This notice must include certain information, including:
- The location of where the parent plans to move;
- The date of the intended move;
- Details about the reason for the move; and
- The arrangements they have made for parenting time in the new location.
The other parent then has 30 days to respond with any concerns or objections about the proposed relocation.
Relocation by Agreement
If two parents agree to the relocation of one co-parent, then they can enter into a written agreement that memorializes the change. These agreements clarify that both parents consented to the relocation and must include:
- A new time-sharing schedule that accounts for the relocation; and
- Transportation arrangements to ensure that the child has visitation with the non-custodial parent.
This agreement must then be submitted to the court, and if approved, will be implemented as part of the existing custody agreement.
Relocation by Court Order
If a co-parent doesn’t agree to a relocation, then the parent who wishes to move will need to seek approval from the court by filing a petition. This petition must include the address of the new residence, a description of the location of the new home, and the date of the intended move, as well as details about the reason for the move (with an attached job offer if applicable). A court will review this petition and eventually hold a hearing, where a judge will determine whether relocating is in a child’s best interests. In making this assessment, the judge will assess:
- The reason for the proposed relocation;
- The potential hardships that would occur if relocation were prevented;
- The economic benefits associated with relocating;
- The parents’ ability to facilitate visitation after relocation;
- Each parent’s job prospects and education; and
- Whether the child has any special needs.
Leaving these kinds of decisions in the hands of a judge is always risky, which is why parents are usually strongly encouraged to reach an out-of-court agreement instead. If doing so isn’t possible, however, you should consider reaching out to an attorney for advice on how to protect your child’s interests.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Parental Relocation Attorney
Contact experienced Florida parental relocation lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for help filing a petition to relocate or for assistance coming up with a new time-sharing arrangement that reflects an impending move. You can reach us at 954-945-7591 or via online message.