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Does a Parent Need Court Approval to Relocate Post-Divorce?

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville
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Understanding Legal Relocation with a Child After Divorce

The state of Florida has clear statutes in place when it comes to relocating after a divorce when children are involved. Any move that could impact your ability to comply with a custody order needs careful consideration and, in many cases, court approval.

Parental Relocation with a Child: Chapter 61.13001 Florida Statutes

By law, a "relocation" means moving 50 miles or more from the current residence for at least 60 consecutive days, not including temporary moves for vacation, education, or healthcare. This statute outlines two primary paths for moving forward with a relocation: by agreement or through a court petition.

Relocation Agreement

Ideally, both parents will agree on the relocation. This mutual understanding requires a written agreement that explicitly provides consent to relocate, outlines the new visitation schedule, and details the future parenting plan. Once documented in writing, the court must still approve this agreement to ensure it is in the child's best interest.

Petition to Relocate

Suppose the other parent does not consent to the proposed relocation. In that case, the relocating parent must petition the court, detailing the reasons behind the move, and serve this petition to the non-relocating parent. The recipient must respond in writing within a specified timeframe—either consenting or objecting—and file their response with the court. Sometimes, the court may grant a temporary relocation order while the case is considered.

What Parents Need to Consider

Relocating post-divorce brings concerns like how the move will alter your relationship with your child and whether it adheres to your custody order. Parents must also consider how they will manage co-parenting dynamics if the other parent opposes the move.

In short, parents considering relocation should prioritize their child's best interests and compliance with existing legal expectations.

Impact on Custody and Co-Parenting

A significant move can reshape the delicate balance of a custody arrangement. It could potentially complicate time-sharing schedules and raise questions about how a child will maintain close relationships with both parents.

When considering relocation requests, the court will assess factors like the child's:

  • Age,
  • Needs, and
  • Their existing bond with each parent.

Why Legal Guidance Is Recommended

Given the complexity and emotional stakes of such moves, legal counsel can be invaluable. A skilled attorney can guide you through drafting a relocation agreement or preparing a petition that meets all legal requirements, helping you feel more confident taking your request to the courts. Attorneys can be instrumental in advocating for a parent's rights.

How Our Attorneys Can Assist Florida Parents

At The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we have seen firsthand how an attorney can become an indispensable ally to families, especially in relocation cases.

Our firm has helped many parents through:

  • Advising on the feasibility of their proposed relocation
  • Negotiating with the other parent on their behalf
  • Preparing and reviewing all necessary documentation
  • Representing them in court proceedings

Remember, receiving court approval is the deciding factor in relocating as a parent post-divorce. While it might appear daunting, remember that this process is ultimately about safeguarding your child's well-being. Whether you are considering a relocation for a new job or are considering the added support gained from moving closer to family, consulting with an attorney early in your decision-making process can set the foundation for a smoother transition.

For personalized advice and assistance with your post-divorce relocation plans, we at The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. are here to help. Contact us online to discuss how we can support your family's evolving needs.

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