After an initial custody determination, it is not uncommon for parents to relocate from their primary residence. While many parents remain in the same city and simply change homes, some parents may have to relocate counties, states, or even countries. If you or your former partner is considering a relocation and you share a minor child, consult with an Orlando Child Custody Attorney today. There are many steps you will need to take in order to protect your visitation and rights to your child through this relocation process.
The Florida courts define relocation as a change in residence over 50 miles for more than 60 days. 61.13001 Therefore, relocation does not just entail moving states, you must ensure when you are moving that you remain within a 50-mile radius of your established residence otherwise, you will need to proceed through the court process.
If you are intending to relocate, you might attempt to first discuss this with your coparent. Some are able to come to an agreement outside of court intervention. You and your partner may come to agreement on your relocation and then file this with the court. This agreement must address the consent of the second parent to the relocation, modifications to the time sharing schedule, as well as the transportation for the child to and from the new place of residence for time sharing. If you and your partner are able to agree, consult with an Orlando Child Custody Attorney to ensure your agreement is legally enforceable and covers all the necessary elements to your relocation.
If you and your coparent cannot reach an agreement then you must file a Petition to Relocate. This petition will be filed with the court and served upon the other parent. The petition will address the new location, the new mailing address, home telephone number, date of relocation, reasons for relocation, if due to job offer, the written job offer must be attached to the petition, the proposed revisions to the time sharing schedule as well as the new transportation arrangement for the child. After service, the other parent has 20 days to file an objection. If a parent does not respond within the prescribed time period, the court presumes that the relocation is in the child’s best interest and is accepted by the other parent.
In a contested relocation proceeding the court will consider many different factors including:
(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.
(b) The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
(c) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.
(d) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
(e) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.
(f) The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation.
(g) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.
(h) That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations.
(i) The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.
(j) A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 or which meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.
(k) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in s. 61.13.
If the court finds the relocation, by a preponderance of the evidence, to be in the best interest of the child, the court may grant the relocation. Within this order the court may address, or modify the existing times haring schedule including, the forms of communication the parent may have with the child, methods to ensure continued and meaningful contact with the parent, as well as the transportation costs associated with the new residence. It is important to have an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney, to represent you during these times as they can be complicated and emotional. Allow our attorneys to compile the petition and necessary evidence in order to display to the court how this relocation is in the best interest of your child.
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