Relocation With A Child After A Divorce
If you have a time sharing agreement (formerly known as a child custody agreement) with your ex-spouse, or someone one you are separated from, there are certain steps that you must take before you relocate with the child. There are different rules and requirements, depending on whether both parents agree to the move. As a preliminary matter, relocation is defined for the purposes of time sharing agreements in Florida, is a move that is 50 miles or more from the present residence.
When the Parties Agree to Relocation
Where both parents agree with the relocation of the child, as well as any other person legally entitled to access to the child, a written agreement must be created. This document needs to indicate that all parties consent to the relocation. A new, modified time sharing schedule must also be in writing, if modification is necessitated by the move. This schedule defines the time sharing schedule for the parent that isn’t moving. Additionally, if another person has legal access to the child, that person’s access schedule must also be detailed in writing. In addition to the time sharing agreement, the transportation arrangements that are associated with time sharing, or access must be documented. All relevant parties must sign the document. Finally, this agreement must be ratified by a court order. Happily, your family law attorney can accomplish this without the need for a hearing.
When the Parties Do Not Agree to Relocation
When the relevant parties (relocating parent, non-relocating parent, and anyone with legal access to the child) cannot come to an agreement, the relocating parent must file a petition with the court and serve the petition on all relevant parties. This petition must be submitted under oath or affirmation. This means that false representations within the petition could subject the petitioner to the standard civil and criminal penalties for perjury. The petition must contain the following:
- A new residence description, including the address;
- The new phone number, if applicable;
- The date of the intended move;
- The reasons for the move;
- If the move is based on a written job offer, a copy of this must be attached;
- A proposed schedule of time sharing and/or access to the child.
The party that is not relocating is entitled to file a response to the petition. The objection must include a factual basis to support a reason for the objection. The nature and degree of involvement the objecting party has with the child should also be included in the response.
When a Parent Relocates Without Agreement or Filing of Petition
If a parent relocates with a child subject to a time sharing agreement, without complying with the laws, a court can grant an order to return the child.
What To Do If You Are Thinking of Relocating, or Your Ex-Spouse Is
Even if you and your ex agree to the move, it’s still a good idea to have an attorney to review the agreed upon terms to assure yourself that all issues have been addressed and resolved. Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. is an experienced Florida attorney, with a practice that includes child custody and time sharing agreements, and other areas of family law. Contact us today to see how we can assist you in ensuring that you are protected.