When Florida parents enter into a parenting plan, there are usually detailed provisions concerning how they will share their time with and make decisions concerning their children. If a parent wants to relocate with their children after this plan is in place, they will have to return for the court’s approval. Making this type of modification can be complicated especially when the other parent does not agree with the move.
Florida law favors parenting plans which support the parent-child relationship through frequent contact with both parents. When a parent is seeking to move a child at least 50 miles away from their current residence, he or she is asking for a relocation. To make this modification to the parenting plan the requesting parent must file a petition for relocation with details about where the child will be moving, the reason for the move, and a post-relocation time-sharing plan.
Relocation by Agreement
As with most child-related matters, when parents agree the process usually goes more quickly and smoothly. Parents might agree because the parent seeking relocation is being transferred to a new job location. Another reason may be that the distance will not substantially interfere with the other parent’s parenting time.
When Parents Don’t Agree
If the parents cannot agree on the relocation issue, they will have to ask the court to become involved. As with the other decisions concerning children, the court will evaluate whether the proposed change is in the best interest of the child. In order to conduct this inquiry the court can look to several factors such as the quality of each parent’s relationship with their child, the child’s age and developmental state, the reasons for opposing and requesting the relocation, the feasibility of time-sharing, the relocating parent’s economic situation, and if appropriate, the child’s preference.
Relocation is not ideal, but it may be sought in some circumstances. In certain situations, the parent seeking relocation will be doing so out of pure necessity but in others, the request may be about trying to alienate the child from the other parent. In this type of case, it is critical that you have an experienced family law attorney to assist you. If you are considering relocating or need to stop a relocation contact an attorney as soon as possible for assistance.
At the Draper Law Firm, our knowledgeable family law attorneys understand the issues surrounding child custody and relocation who can provide you with the honest advice you need. If you are dealing with a divorce or custody matter, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.