Divorce is a difficult and emotional process, and it can be even more challenging when there are children involved. One of the most common questions that parents ask is whether they can relocate with their children after a divorce or “dissolution of marriage”, as it is legally referred to in Florida. This is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and planning. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the specific circumstances of the case and the laws of the state in which you live.
In Florida, the law governing relocation with children after divorce is found in Florida Statutes section 61.13001. This statute states that a parent who has been awarded primary custody of a child and wishes to move more than 50 miles away, must provide written notice to the other parent at least 60 days before the proposed relocation. The notice must contain specific information about the proposed relocation. The other parent then has 30 days to object to the proposal. The custodial parent may not relocate with the child without the consent of the other parent or a court order.
If the other parent consents to the proposed relocation, the parents must submit a written agreement to the court for approval. If the other parent objects to the proposed relocation, the relocating parent must file a petition for relocation with the court. The court will then determine whether the proposed relocation is in the best interests of the child.
The court will consider several factors in determining whether to grant permission for a parent to relocate, including:
- The age and needs of the child
- The distance of the move
- The reasons for the move
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The impact of the relocation on the child’s education, health & emotional development
- The impact of the move on the other parent’s parenting time
- The stability of the child’s current environment
- The child’s ties to the community
If you are considering relocating with your children after a divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced local family law attorney to discuss your specific case. An attorney can help you understand the law and your rights and can represent you in court, if necessary.
What to Do if You Want to Relocate with Your Children After Divorce
If you are the custodial parent and you want to relocate with your children after divorce, you will need to follow these steps:
- Give the other parent written notice of your intention to relocate. The notice must be served on the other parent at least 60 days before you plan to move.
- Provide the other parent with information about the move and your reason for it: the distance of the move, planned move date, new address, phone number, a proposed visitation (timesharing) schedule, and the impact of the move on the child.
- Offer to meet with the other parent to discuss the move and to try to reach an agreement.
- If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent, you must file a petition to relocate and have it ruled by the court before you can move the child’s residence. If the court grants permission for you to relocate the child’s residence, it will likely order you to pay for the child’s travel expenses to and from your new residence to have time sharing with the other parent.
What to do if you are the non-custodial parent and the other parent wants to relocate with your children
If you are the non-custodial parent and the other parent wants to relocate with your children, you have several options, including:
- Agree to the move. If you agree to the move, you will need to sign a consent order with the other parent.
- File a petition with the court to prevent the move. If you file a petition with the court, the court will consider the same factors that it would consider if you were the custodial parent who wanted to relocate.
- Try to reach an agreement with the other parent about the terms of the move. If you can reach an agreement with the other parent, you can file a stipulation and consent agreement with the court.
Failure to Comply with Relocation Requirements
If a parent fails to comply with Florida’s relocation requirements, the court may hold that parent in contempt and impose sanctions. The court may also order the parent to return the child to the non-relocating parent.
The Importance of Getting Legal Help
If you are considering relocating with your children after divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your specific case. An attorney can help you understand the law and your rights and can represent you in court if necessary. At Parra Harris Law, we have the experience and the track record that you can count on. We serve clients in Greater Jacksonville and the Northeast Florida area. We are bi-lingual and provide over 50 years of combined experience in family law. Contact Parra Harris Law today at 904-900-1617.