When you share custody of a minor child, complex child custody and visitation problems often arise—and child relocation issues are chief among them. In the state of Florida, parents who share custody sometimes find themselves in precarious situations when one of the parents wishes to move to another city, state, or even out of the country. Florida courts have traditionally restricted the movement of custodial parents when they seek to move away from the area where the other parent lives. If you are in the midst of a child relocation problem—whether you’re looking to move or you want to protect your rights as a noncustodial parent—your first call should be to a Fort Lauderdale child relocation attorney.
Florida’s Restrictions on Moving for Custodial Parents
When courts decide on child custody in Florida, they take several factors into account with the best interests of the child being chief among them. The courts have historically determined that the child’s interests are best served when parents are both active participants in their children’s lives—and distance can sometimes hamper that closeness.
Florida’s parental relocation statute, 61.13, offers a strict definition of parental relocation—it is 50 miles or more from the other parent’s home. Moves that meet this definition must be planned in advance if the custodial parent plans to live at the new address for 60 or more consecutive days. The moving parent must notify the other parent of the intent to relocate in advance, providing the new address, neighborhood and area description, date of the proposed move, the reason for the move, and a proposed schedule for parenting.
Convincing the courts to grant relocation privileges can be tough, particularly if the non-relocating parent has proven to be an active participant in the life of the child. Getting the court to sign off on relocation is much easier, however, if an amicable agreement between the relocating and non-relocating parent can be reached. The plan presented by the parents must be one that the courts find to be both reasonable and fair, such as a plan that includes a monetary contribution to the non-relocating parent to make commuting to see the child more financially feasible.
Any disagreements between parents when it comes to relocation must be ironed out in family court. When this happens, the family court usually issues a temporary custody order and either grant or denies the parent’s relocation request for a temporary time period pending a final hearing on the matter.
HOW A FORT LAUDERDALE CHILD RELOCATION ATTORNEY CAN HELP
The ways in which a Fort Lauderdale attorney specializing in child relocation cases can assist you will vary depending on the specifics of the circumstances. The following are a few examples of how they may help:
Assistance in filing a petition
If you wish to relocate with your child in Florida, the first step in the process will involve filing a petition to relocate. The child’s other parent will be served with this petition. So will any other individuals who may have time-sharing rights.
Your petition must include certain key details to ensure it is as thorough as necessary. These details include:
- The mailing address, phone number, and exact location of the new home to which you plan on relocating with your child
- The date on which you plan to relocate
- Details describing how non-custodial parents and others with time-sharing rights will be able to access the child
- An explanation of why you plan on relocating
Those last two details are of particular importance. Although you will likely have no trouble with providing basic information regarding where you plan on relocating to and when you plan on doing so, explaining your reasons for relocating and how you will ensure the child’s other parent will still be able to see them on a consistent basis can be more challenging. A legal expert who specializes in these matters can assist you with these tasks.
Florida courts still need to approve relocation even when both parents agree to the terms of said relocation. That said, getting the court’s approval is much easier when you can convince the child’s other parent to allow the relocation without contesting it. Convincing the child’s other parent to agree on the terms of relocation may be a simpler process if you can present your case with the assistance of a lawyer.
Assistance when parents can’t agree upon a relocation
Unfortunately, parents don’t always come to an agreement easily when one wishes to relocate with their children. In these circumstances, the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale child relocation attorney can be particularly vital.
If the other parent of your child wants to relocate and you do not agree they should be permitted to do so, you can file an objection. This objection must explain to the court why you don’t believe a relocation should be approved. It should also describe the way in which you currently participate in your child’s life. The goal is to thoroughly explain to the court why you believe approving the relocation would not be in the best interests of your child.
On the other hand, perhaps you are the parent who wishes to relocate, and your child’s other parent has filed an objection. In either of these circumstances, convincing the court to rule in your favor will require constructing and presenting a strong case. You can optimize your chances of arriving at an outcome that is fair for yourself and your children by coordinating with a Fort Lauderdale child relocation attorney.
Need Help With Child Relocation?
If you are thinking about relocating with your child, or if the child’s other parent is considering relocation, The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances can help you preserve your parental rights and ensure that your child’s best interests are served. Reach out to a competent, compassionate, and understanding Fort Lauderdale child relocation lawyer now to get a better understanding of your rights and options. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 954-533-2756.
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