Parental Relocation: Moving with your Children
If a parent wishes to move out of state or more than 50 miles away and that parent shares decision making or custody of a minor child or children, the parent wishing to move may need to petition the court to get permission to move. If the other parent does not agree to a proposed move, the parent wanting to move should seek a court order for relocation prior to any move taking place. In certain circumstances, moving away with your own child, without providing notice to the other parent or obtaining a court order, may amount to parental kidnapping.
Relocation By Agreement
If the parties agree to the move, litigation may be avoided. Depending on the terms of the prior parenting plan or custody agreement, a new agreement, allowing the move and describing the terms and logistics, can be reached and submitted to the court. Even if you are planning to move by agreement, you should still consult with an experienced Florida relocation attorney to make sure you are in compliance with state law and prior court orders or agreements.
Common Reasons Parents Decide to Move
- New Job
- Better Schools
- Opportunities for Children with Special Needs
- Bigger City or Smaller Town
- A New Relationship
- Closer to Parents or Family
- Closer to Former Residence
- Closer to College Town
- Other Economic Opportunity
Some of the primary factors Florida Courts consider in a relocation case include:
- The Reasons for the Proposed Relocation
- Potential Increase in Quality of Life for the Children and Relocating Parent
- Relationship Between Parents, Children, and Other Significant Persons to the Children
- Age and Needs of the Children
- Impact of the Move on the Children
- Feasibility of Preserving Relationships
- Preference of the Children
- Financial and Employment Factors
- The Fulfillment of Financial Obligations by an Objecting Party
- History of Substance Abuse or Domestic Violence by Either Parent
- Best Interests of the Children
The reasons for a move are often unique and there are other factors a judge may consider in determining whether a relocation should be allowed. You should consult with a Florida family law relocation attorney to discuss facts specific to your family’s circumstances and how they relate to these and other factors.
Relocation After Divorce or Time-Sharing Order
While some people choose to move or relocate during a divorce, often filing a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children and Relocation,” another common time for a parent to file for relocation is during the first few years after the conclusion of a divorce. After the dust settles and the parties begin to further separate their lives, they sometimes come to realize that moving away and starting fresh, seeking a new opportunity, or gaining family support is what is best for them and their children. After divorce, or in the case of a paternity matter, the entry of a time-sharing order, a party seeking to relocate will often file a “Supplemental Petition to Permit Relocation with Minor Children.” If you are thinking about moving, it’s important to discuss your goals and plans with a Florida attorney experienced in the relocation process as soon as possible.
As of July 2023, if the parents of a child lived more than 50 miles apart when the last order establishing time-sharing was entered and a parent subsequently moves to within 50 miles of the other parent, then that move may be considered a substantial and material change in circumstances for the purpose of modifying the time-sharing schedule.
Opposing a Petition for Relocation
If a party wishes to object to a proposed relocation, the party must object in writing within twenty (20) days of service of the Petition requesting relocation, and the objection must be verified and in conformity with the applicable Florida Statutes. If a party fails to timely and properly object to the relocation, the relocation may be granted without further inquiry, unless it is not in the best interests of the children. It is crucial to the defense of a Petition for Relocation to timely file the appropriate paperwork. If you are served with a Petition for Relocation, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your rights and options.
Revised: July 2023