If you want to move away with the children after a divorce or separation, there are a few things you should know.
You may not be able to move without a court order. If there is already a parenting plan ordered by the court, you may need to seek a relocation pursuant to the Florida Statues before you make that move. You should always have a copy of your parenting plan. If you don not, go the the courthouse and get it.
The prior court order (parenting plan) should outline what you should do in case any one of you wants to relocate with the child. According to Florida Statutes 61.13001, a party may not relocate with a child more than 50 miles away. Therefore, you may be able to move to a different county, if it is close by.
In the alternative parents can seek permission from the other parent in writing. This an avoid a lengthly and costly battle.
There are very detailed requirements in filing the petition to relocate, therefore utilizing an attorney is recommended, even if not required.
In reaching its decision regarding a proposed temporary or permanent relocation, the court shall evaluate all of the following factors:
(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent proposing to relocate with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.
(b) 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, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
(c) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, visitation, and time sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.
(d) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
(e) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent seeking the relocation and the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.
(f) The reasons of each parent or other person for seeking or opposing the relocation.
(g) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether or not the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.
(h) 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.
(i) The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or objecting other person if the relocation occurs.
(j) A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in s.741.28 or which meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.
(k) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in s. 61.13.