Relocating With Children Across State Lines

When a Florida family court judge awards custody of a couple’s children, he or she bases the decision on the circumstances at the time of a divorce. Several years later, however, a parent may accept a new job or a promotion in another state and need to relocate. 

In such cases, individuals may find themselves facing harsh allegations of kidnapping if they leave the Sunshine State to start a new job. When the custodial parent needs to move more than 50 miles away from the family’s principal residence, he or she must first receive written permission to move with the children. 

Signing an agreement to move with children 

If the relocation will last for more than 60 days, the non-custodial parent needs to provide his or her consent for the children to move. As noted on the Florida Legislature’s website, a written agreement must contain consent to the relocation, an agreed-upon visitation schedule and details regarding any required transportation for the children between each parent’s residence. 

When a parent objects to providing his or her signature agreeing to the relocation, the custodial parent must then submit a petition through the court to receive the hoped-for consent. While delaying a new job opportunity could make the situation stressful for the spouse and children, it may also result in a contentious court hearing. 

Planning for an out-of-state position and relocation 

When searching for or considering an employment position that requires moving outside of Florida, a parent may wish to first receive consent to avoid any related allegations of kidnapping. Petitioning the court, however, may require proof when an out-of-state relocation is necessary to accept a new position. 

Factors that a judge may consider include the parent’s income and reasons for moving with the children. A judge may also consider a child’s age and his or her need to maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent. Older children may express a wish to continue residing in the state with the non-custodial parent, which would than require a modified custody order if both spouses agree.