Many divorced couples are able to agree on visitation and custody arrangements that allow both parents to continue to have a meaningful relationship with their child. Even if you do not have primary custody of your children, you have the right to regular visitation with them. Though many couples stick by their original custody and visitation agreement, sometimes circumstances change for one or both parents. One common change that may significantly impact custody and visitation arrangements is the need for the custodial parent to relocate to another city or state.
Relocation may be necessary or important due to professional or personal reasons. However, no matter the reason, relocation will almost always disrupt existing visitation and custody arrangements. Even if there is an extremely valid reason for the custodial parent to want to relocate, the non-custodial parent still has the right to have an ongoing relationship and contact with their child. If the parent of your child wants to move away, you should always consult with a Florida family law attorney to help protect your parental rights.
Florida Relocation Statute
The state of Florida recognizes the delicate situation that child relocation may present, and our state has a law specifically addressing any relocation over 50 miles away from the original residence. Under the law, relocation can happen in a variety of ways.
If you agree to the relocation and can agree on a new visitation schedule, both parents may draft and sign a written agreement agreeing to the relocation. The agreement must set out parameters for visitation and time-sharing between parents, and any transportation measures necessary for time-sharing.
If you cannot agree, the custodial parent may petition the court to allow them to relocate. This petition must contain certain information required by law. Once you are notified of the petition to relocate, you must file a response within a certain time frame, otherwise the court will automatically grant the relocation. For this reason, you should always call a Florida family law attorney as soon as you receive notice that a petition to relocate has been filed.
If you object to the relocation, the court must examine the following factors to decide whether relocation is in the best interests of your child:
- The age and needs of your child, and the effect relocation may have on them;
- The preference of your child (if they are old and mature enough to make that decision);
- The nature of the child’s relationship with you and the practicability of continuing that relationship after relocation;
- Reasons for the relocation, including economic or employment prospects;
- Reasons for opposing the relocation;
- Any history of abuse that may exist.
These are only some of the factors the court can look at, and the court will ultimately try to make the decision that is in the best interests of your child.
If you are facing possible relocation of your child or any other custody or visitation issue, experienced Florida family law attorney Alan R. Burton will help you stand up for your rights to foster a meaningful relationship with your child. He knows how to fight for an agreement that will work for you, the custodial parent, and – perhaps most importantly – your children. Do not hesitate to contact our offices in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale for help today.
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