Relocation: Your Right to Move Away with a Child

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Relocation on Tuesday, August 6, 2013.

What are your rights to move away from another parent with your children? We live in a mobile society, easily traveling all over the world. When you are divorce and have children though, moving away is not so easy.

In my practice I’m seeing relocation cases more and more, and 2013 was a peak year for relocation cases in my practice.

Relocation means moving at least 50 miles for at least 60 consecutive days – not including a temporary absence for vacation, education, or health care for your child.

Clients increasingly have to relocate with their children during, or right after, the divorce. Some studies estimate that up to 25% of parents move away within the first 2-years after their divorce.

These are some of the common reasons for relocating with a child:

  • New job offers
  • Work transfer
  • New spouse
    • Financial opportunities
  • Family support networks

There are two ways to successfully relocate with your child:

1. Both parents sign a written agreement consenting to the relocation, and the agreement has a time-sharing schedule, and works out the transportation arrangements.

2. If you can’t enter a written agreement, and you still want to relocate, you must file a petition to relocate and serve it on the other parent.

If you relocate without an agreement or a court order allowing you to, you can be held in contempt, the child may be compelled to return, and your relocating improperly is a factor in establishing or modifying a parenting plan or time-sharing schedule.

There is no longer a legal presumption in favor or against relocations. Instead, Florida courts have to evaluate several factors such as:

  • The age of the child
  • The child’s preference
  • The reasons for moving
  • History of drug abuse or domestic violence

Relocation cases are very emotional, fact intensive, require a lot of work very quickly, and are very high stakes. Think about it, one parent is trying to take away a child, while the other parent is trying to maintain a close bond with the child. That creates a lot of tension. Without a doubt, relocation cases are among the toughest cases we face in court.