Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer

Can I Move to Another City or State if I Have Custody of My Children?

Many people move to the state of Florida from other locations, perhaps seeking a warmer climate or more laid-back way of life. However, these same people often leave family and friends in other cities or states, to whom they wish to return at some point. A new job prospect or a new relationship might also spark the desire to move. The question is, are you allowed to move away with your children when you are the custodial parent?

Florida’s Relocation Statute

Pursuant to Florida Statutes §61.13001, a custodial parent who is seeking to change his or her principal residence to a location that is at least 50 miles away must obtain the permission of the non-custodial parent. If both parents agree that the custodial parent can move, they simply file a written agreement that consents to the move, sets forth a new time-sharing schedule for the non-custodial parent, and makes transportation arrangements between the parents for the purposes of visitation. However, if the non-custodial parent does not agree with the custodial parent’s proposed move, the custodial parent then must get the permission of the court in order to move with the child.

Filing a Petition for Relocation

In order to get the court’s permission to move, the custodial parent must file a signed petition that requests the court’s approval to relocate. The petition to permit relocation must include the following items:

  • – The physical location, address and telephone number of the new residence;
  • – The date that the custodial parent intends to move;
  • – A detailed explanation as to why the custodial parent wants to move;
  • – Proposed modifications to the time-sharing schedule and transportation arrangements; and
  • – Notice to the non-custodial parent about his or her right to object to the petition and the consequences if he or she does not object to the petition.

Court Hearings on Relocation Petitions

If the non-custodial parent does object to the custodial parent’s proposed relocation, the court will hold a hearing in order to determine if relocation is in the child’s best interests. The court will consider different factors in making this decision, including the child’s relationship with both parents and other family members, the impact of a move on the child’s bond with the non-custodial parent, the child’s wishes, the reasons for the proposed relocation, and whether improvements in the custodial parent’s economic circumstances, career opportunities, and quality of life will occur as a result of the move.

Consult an Experienced Florida Family Law Attorney Today

In contested relocation cases, the stakes can be very high. Denial of a relocation petition by the court could result in an inability of the custodial parent to move away; on the other hand, granting a Florida relocation petition can adversely affect a non-custodial parent’s involvement in his or her child’s life. Due to the potential complexity of the issues involved, it is always wise to contact a Florida child custody lawyer who can advise you of your options and help you to develop the best strategy available in your case. Contact Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, and learn how relocation works in the state of Florida and your rights in light of a proposed move with your child.