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Ready to Relocate with Children? Here’s What Divorced Families in Florida Need to Know.

Summer is nearly upon us and that means we’re heading into peak relocation season. With kids on break from school, relocating during the summer offers everyone a chance to settle into a new home and neighborhood before school starts back up in the fall.

Relocating to a new city or state is challenging enough on its own, and if you’re a divorced parent with children in Florida, it can be even more momentous as there are additional steps you must take in order to adhere to Florida statutory requirements regarding child relocation.

Relocation after Divorce

Families who are divorced in Florida must get permission from their ex-spouse if they want to relocate more than 50 miles from their original location and for at least 60 consecutive days. Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes requires a parent who wishes to relocate to either:

  1. Obtain a written agreement from the other parent and any other person entitled to time-sharing, or
  2. Serve a Petition to Relocate thereby giving the other parent and any other person entitled to time-sharing 20 days to object.

Failure to comply with Florida’s relocation statute means the relocating parent may be subject to contempt, and the courts may pursue proceedings to compel the return of the child. Failure to comply may also lead to a modification of the parenting plan, access to your children, or changes to the time-sharing schedule.

Child Relocation and Florida Law

Florida courts will not automatically grant or deny your request if you wish to relocate with children, but you will be asked to demonstrate how the relocation will be in the child’s best interest.

When you file a Petition to Relocate, the courts will evaluate numerous criteria and its impact on the child/children, including, but not limited to:

  1. The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with both parents as well as other people in the child’s life;
  2. 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;
  3. The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through substitute arrangements;
  4. The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
  5. 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;
  6. 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;
  7. The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs; and
  8. A history of substance abuse or domestic violence by either parent.

For divorced families, relocating takes more than just packing up the moving van. If you’re considering relocating with children, please get in touch with us at Vasquez de Lara Law Group right away. We can help you understand your options so you can achieve your relocation goals.