Picture this: you’re divorced from your former spouse with whom you have a minor child. During the divorce proceedings, you are deemed the custodial parent. You and your former spouse get along amicably and follow the child visitation plans without issue. A few years following the divorce, you get an offer for your dream job in Denver, CO. You are ready to go, but before you do, you may need to get the court’s permission.
Relocating Outside of Florida
Florida has a specific statute that provides the rules for relocating 50 miles or more when a minor child is involved. The legal term for moving the child out of state is “relocation.” The statute requires that the relocating parent receive written agreement to the move by the noncustodial parent, or request the court’s permission. As a practical matter, it will be easier if you can get your former spouse’s agreement to the relocation. However, even if they do not agree with the move, the court still has the power to grant permission for the move.
How the Court Decides
One of the most important phrases in the realm of family law is “the best interests of the child.” The court will generally allow relocation, even if one parent objects, if it determines that it is in the best interest of the child. The court’s primary concern is your child’s best interests, not yours or your former spouse’s. Thus, a great career opportunity alone may not be a good enough reason to allow relocation if the court finds that uprooting the child from their home, established routine, and support system would be harmful to the child’s well-being. After all, moving can be tough on children. This is one of many reasons why you need a strong advocate explaining your position to the court.
The judge will make the decision on a case by case basis. Every case, like every family, is different. However, the law provides some guidance as to factors that should be considered. These factors include, but are not limited to:
● The child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent, siblings, and other relatives;
● The child’s age, development, and the likely emotional impact of the move;
● The possibility of preserving long-term relationships even after the move;
● The child’s personal preferences (if they can be meaningfully obtained); and
● The overall potential benefit of the move on the child’s quality of life.
It’s important to remember that none of these factors are determinative; the judge weighs and reviews them to help decide whether the relocation would be in the child’s best interest. Also, in most cases the burden of proof is on the parent wishing to relocate to show by a preponderance of the evidence that that move is in the child’s best interest.
Contact a Tampa Bay Divorce Attorney
No matter the specifics of your family situation, there are complex procedural rules that must be followed when relocating with a child. For this reason, the safest course of action is to have a Florida family law attorney analyze your situation prior to your move and help you through the process.
At the All Family Law Group, P.A. we understand that family decisions, like relocation inside or outside the state of Florida, are about more than just the law. The goal of our family law attorneys is to ensure that you understand both the legal and practical implications of your decisions. If you or your spouse is considering relocation, contact our Experienced Attorneys & Counselors at Law since 1997 Serving all of Tampa Bay. Call 813-672-1900 now for a free initial consultation www.familymaritallaw.com. We can help you understand the law and develop a plan of action that is in the best interest of you and your child.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google