In our mobile and transient world, it’s not uncommon for people to move between states for employment or relocation for access to better opportunities. Mobility and technology have made moving between states easier than ever. However, if you are divorced and sharing custody of minor children, you could face difficulty with your moving plans. When divorced parents sharing custody intend to move more than 50 miles from their current residence, they have to file a petition with the court and wait for approval. Relocation modifications don’t have to be tricky, and securing legal counsel can help you avoid running afoul of any laws and requirements in Florida.
Relocation by Agreement vs. Relocation by Petition
You can start the relocation process by speaking with your ex-spouse and reaching an agreement. The agreement is then presented to the court for approval. You can save time and expense when working together to reach a mutually beneficial time-sharing and custody agreement. It’s faster because you can skip court and simply file your changes and await approval.
Suppose you and your ex-spouse can’t agree. In that case, you can relocate by petition, which involves notifying your ex-spouse and submitting a petition including new shared custody perimeters to the court for permission. Both parents need to agree to the changes, or there will be a relocation hearing. Whichever method you choose, what is most important is that you remember that any relocation requires a court order – whether you and your ex agree on the terms or not.
The Legal Process
If you share custody of a minor child with an ex-spouse attempting to move more than 50 miles away, you can object to the move. The court will review your argument for why the move is not in the child's best interest. Once a petition is made for relocation, the court system will consider the child's best interest.
They will look particularly at the following:
- The purpose of the proposed move
- The child’s will
- The ability for parental contact from both parties after the move
- The child’s age
- The ability of each parent to meet the needs of the child and their history with the child
- Drug and violence history, especially as it impacts the child
Your co-parent should send a petition that includes the proposed move location, a new schedule, and why the move is being requested. Once you receive this notice, you must respond to the petition immediately if you plan to contest the move. If you do not answer the petition quickly, the court can proceed without your input. Your legal objection will outline why you object to the move and how it will be bad for the child specifically.
Representation Matters When Developing Your Legal Strategy
If you and your ex-spouse can negotiate acceptable terms, our team can help you draft your relocation agreement that must be filed with the court system. It’s important to consult legal representation before entering into any agreement if you are unsure of the terms.
If you and your ex cannot reach an agreement about a planned move, and you are worried about your children being taken out of the area, then call the family law attorneys at Mitchell & West LLC for help reviewing your case.
Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.