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Can I Relocate With My Child?


Often, during or after a divorce, a parent will decide to move with their child for several reasons. Some parents move because of new jobs. Others move because they believe a change of location might provide a fresh start for them. And others relocate to be with new partners. However, in Florida, strict laws govern relocating with a child during or after a divorce. Parents must follow the law when relocating with their children. Failure to do so could result in a parent being held in contempt, other legal proceedings to compel a parent to return the child and other remedial relief. The court may also consider a parent’s non-compliance in a subsequent determination that may modify the custody arrangement or parenting plan.

Can You Relocate With Your Child?

Before answering this question, it is important to discuss what it means to relocate with a child. Relocation occurs when a parent moves with their child to a new location at least 50 miles from their principal place of residence for at least 60 consecutive days.  A child’s principal place of residence is the place of residence known to the court when the last time-sharing order was established or modified or when the pending action to alter or establish time-sharing was filed.

So, can you relocate with your child? Florida law allows parents to relocate with their children only if they have gotten written approval from the other parent or the court. If you relocate with your child and you don’t have the other parent’s or court’s approval, you will face legal consequences.

Reaching an agreement with the other parent and anyone else entitled to time-sharing is the easiest way for you to move with your child. If you, the other parent, and everyone else entitled to time-sharing agree to the relocation, you will need to sign an agreement that:

  1. Clearly states that all involved parties agree to the relocation;
  2. Sets out a visitation or time-sharing schedule for the nonmoving parent and other parties entitled to time-sharing; and
  3. Describes transportation arrangements required to make the new arrangements work (if necessary).

If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, you need to file a petition with the court requesting permission to relocate. The petition must be signed under oath and include, among other things, a description of the new location, the mailing address of the new home, and the date of the intended relocation.

Factors the Court Considers When Deciding Whether To Grant a Relocation Petition

According to Florida Statute 61.13001, before granting or denying a temporary or permanent relocation petition, the court must consider several factors, including the following;

  • The age and developmental stage of the child
  • The needs of the child
  • The likely impact the move will have on the child’s education, physical, and emotional development
  • The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with both parents and other significant people in their life
  • Any history of domestic violence (as defined in Florida Statute 741.28) or substance abuse
  • The child’s preference
  • Each parent’s current employment and economic circumstances
  • Whether the relocation will improve the quality of life for the parent and child
  • The reasons for seeking or objecting the relocation

All in all, the court’s decision depends on what is in the child’s best interest.

Contact Us for Legal Help

If you are considering moving with your child, contact our experienced Tampa family law attorney at The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A., for legal help.

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