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Relocating with children after a Florida divorce

After getting divorced, people may want to relocate within the state of Florida or move out of the state for any other number of reasons. For parents, however, there may be more to it than just making the decision to move and packing up. If they plan to take their children with them, they may require permission.

According to the Florida Supreme Court, approval is necessary in cases when people plan to move their children’s primary residences 50 miles or more from their locations at the time of the last child custody order. This is the case provided the relocation is for a period of 60 consecutive days or more and is not for the purposes of vacation or the child’s education or health care. People may obtain permission to relocate with children by reaching agreements with the noncustodial parents or by petitioning the court.

In cases when both parents agree to a relocation, they may complete and submit an agreement for relocation with a minor child form with the court. This form should include a modified parenting plan and time-sharing schedule if their existing arrangement will be impacted by the move.

According to Florida state law, if people cannot agree on a proposed relocation, the parent seeking the move may petition the court for permission. Should the other parent choose to formally object, then the decision falls to the court. In making their determination, family law judges may consider the following:

  •          The nature and quality of the established parent-child relationships
  •          The age and developmental stage and needs of the child
  •          The feasibility of preserving the child’s relationship with the nonrelocating parent
  •          How the move will affect the child’s and the relocating parent’s quality of life
  •          The reasons for the move
  •          Each parent’s current employment and economic circumstances

The court may also consider the child’s preference, depending on his or her age and maturity. The parent seeking the move must prove to the court that the relocation is in the child’s best interests.

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