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Can a Custodial Parent Move a Child Out of State?

Child Relocation Rights in Florida

After a divorce is finalized and custody arrangements are made, life events can lead to the possibility of a move for the custodial parent. Whether the parent obtains a new job, remarries, or has other circumstances that require relocation, the custodial parent has to take certain steps in order to ensure the non-custodial parent’s rights to visitation are still intact.

How Does Florida Define Relocation?

Florida law defines relocation as a permanent move that is outside of a 50 mile radius from the current location. If circumstances require a move within that radius, no additional legal actions need to be taken aside from notifying the non-custodial parent of the new address.

Steps for Out-of-State Relocation

Should the custodial parent have a need to relocate out of state, he/she needs to notify the non-custodial parent of the planned relocation along with provision of address information and a proposed visitation schedule. A custodial parent cannot take a child further away from a non-custodial parent without his/her consent or legal approval and an altered custody agreement.

If the custodial parent gives notification of potential relocation and the non-custodial parent gives full consent for the move, all that remains to be done is to notify the court of the agreement as well as the planned time-sharing agreement and transportation arrangements. The court will then grant relocation approval and an updated custodial agreement.

Bringing a Relocation Case to Court

If the non-custodial parent provides an objection to the relocation to the court, then the case will go back to the court. The presiding judge will hear arguments and make a determination of custody adjustments according to Florida’s statute of maintaining what is in the best interest of the child.

During these hearings, the judge will listen carefully and determine if the relocation will improve the child’s quality of life. The judge will pay close attention to several factors:

  • The child’s preference.
  • The child’s relationship with both parents.
  • The child’s age.
  • Reasons for and against relocation.
  • Benefits of the relocation, such as new educational opportunities or an increase in income.
  • Anything else that contributes to the best interest of the child.

If the judge grants permission for relocation, then he/she will also draft a new child custody agreement to ensure that the non-custodial parent maintains some level of visitation rights and parental responsibilities. The custodial parent must also provide the non-custodial parent with necessary information such as a new address and new school information.

Can Relocation Be Denied?

It is also possible that the judge may not grant permission for child relocation. While this does not prevent the parent from moving, the judge may adjust primary custodial responsibilities to the non-custodial parent and draft a new agreement for the moving parent.

Child Relocation Attorneys in Sarasota

Whether you are a custodial parent looking to relocate or are a non-custodial parent that wants to maintain proximity to your child, you need the professionals at Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A. with the legal experience necessary to navigate difficult child custody cases. Call our team at (941) 499-8154 today to get started.