Tampa Child Relocation Attorney
Ideally, a child with divorced parents stays within a close distance of both parties so that they can continue to have a solid relationship with both parents as they grow up. However, according to Psychology Today, 16 percent of Americans move each year and of those, 43 percent move outside of their current area. Single parents are often under additional financial and emotional stress and may need to move for a job or to be closer to their family. When a big move, either to a new city or state, becomes necessary, the custodial parent either needs to get written permission from the other parent to take the child with him or her, or they must go through the legal process of changing the parenting plan and relocation. Whether you are the parent wishing to make the move, or the parent who is staying put and does not want to see their child moved dozens or thousands of miles away from them, you need a Tampa child relocation attorney.
When is a Move Considered Relocation?
According to Florida Statute 61.13001, relocation is defined as a change in location of the primary residence of a parent that is at least 50 miles from the previous residence for at least 60 consecutive days. This does not include temporary absences from the primary residence for vacation, education, or health care treatment.
Reasons it May Be Necessary to Relocate a Child
The burden of proof initially lies with the relocating parent to prove with a preponderance of evidence that a move is in the child’s best interest. Reasons may include:
- To move closer to extended family who can help with child care;
- For a job opportunity;
- For better housing arrangement;
- For an educational opportunity; and
Can I Relocate with My Child After a Tampa Child Custody Case?
All child relocations in Florida require an agreement or a court order. However, in some circumstances, what you are calling a “child relocation” might not actually be a “relocation” under Florida law. Accordingly, you may not need to put a legal agreement in place or to seek a court order. Here is how the term “relocation” is defined by the Florida Statutes:
“Relocation means a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.”
In sum, a planned move with your child is not actually a relocation and does not require a legal agreement or a court order if any of the following are true:
- You are not moving the child more than 50 miles from the current residence;
- Move will not last for 60 consecutive days or more; or
- Move is temporary for the purposes of a vacation, your child’s education, or for your child’s health care.
Factors That are Considered in a Relocation Petition
Many factors are taken into consideration by the court when a parent wishes to relocate with their child. Some of these include the following:
- The age, development, and needs of the child;
- The child’s preference if they are at an age to have an opinion;
- The ability to maintain a relationship with the non-relocating parent, siblings, and other after the move;
- Whether or not the relocation with improve the financial well-being and educational opportunities for the family;
- Whether the relocation is sought in good-faith;
- If either parent has a history of substance abuse or domestic violence; and
- Any other factors that affect what is in the child’s best interests.
Steps to Take for Tampa Child Relocation
If the move you are planning is in fact a relocation under Florida law, then you will either need to enter into a legal agreement with the child’s other parent, or you will need to seek the court’s permission to move, and a court order will need to modify your child custody arrangement to allow for the relocation.
What steps should you take when you are planning a relocation? Consider the following:
- Inform the other parent and see if that parent will agree to the relocation;
- If the other parent agrees to the relocation, you can enter into an agreement, but otherwise you will need to petition the court; and
- Present evidence to the court that the relocation is in the child’s best interests.
Contact a Skilled Tampa Family Law Attorney to Help in Your Child Relocation Case
If you are trying to relocate your child or your ex-partner is attempting to relocate your child and you do not believe it is in the child’s best interest, it is time to speak with a Tampa family law attorney. A lawyer can help you file the petition or respond to such a petition with evidence to support what you believe is best for your child’s future. Contact The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. today at 813-222-0888 to schedule a free consultation today.