Understanding Interstate Relocation Laws

According to research, 17 to 25% of parents relocate within the first two years of a divorce, leaving behind the area where their former spouse may still be living. The reasons for a relocation vary—some move away due to new professional opportunities that have come up in another state; others because of a change in their financial situation; others still may simply feel the need to start anew in another place. Whatever the underlying cause, relocating after a divorce (especially to another state), will usually affect child custody and support arrangements. In fact in Florida, specific laws set conditions that the relocating parent must meet before relocating.

However, in some cases, the child custody and support agreement agreed upon at the time of the divorce needs to be modified considerably and adapted to the new circumstances. Whether you are the parent weighing the decision to relocate, or the parent asked to grant the permission for the move, you are facing a complex and emotionally taxing situation.

While many factors may be involved in the decision-making process, what you need to make sure of first and foremost is that you know your rights and the laws that apply to your situation. In this blog, we will briefly explain a few of the things you need to know about interstate relocation laws in Florida:

If A Parent Wants to Relocate

Laws relating to relocating with children after a divorce in Florida are somewhat strict. The pertaining section of the Florida Statutes indicates that if a parent wants to move with a child more than 50 miles away from the original location for more than 60 days at a time, they are legally obliged to inform the non-relocating parent and obtain his or her consent.

Such consent must be submitted in written form to the court along with a written contract, signed by both parents, detailing any changes in the visitation schedule. If other parties, like grandparents, have visitation rights too, they need to agree to the move and relocation as well. In addition, transportation arrangements related to the new time-sharing schedule must be clearly outlined in the agreement too.

If the Non-Relocating Parent Does Not Agree

If the consent is not granted, a court order must be obtained. Only under the condition of obtaining such order, the relocating parent may legally move a child. The petition to obtain the order must include all the pertaining details of the relocation: for example, the reason for it, the date of the move, the new address (including the telephone number if applies), and a proposed visitation schedule for the non-relocating parent and other family members with the visitation rights. A transportation plan should be outlined as well. The petition must also include a notice to the other parent, informing them how to object.

Relocating Without Consent

The non-relocating parent has 20 days to respond to the petition and if he or she doesn’t do so, the court may grant the relocation request without a hearing. However, if the non-relocating parent fails to comply with any of the requirements mentioned above and proceeds with the move anyway, a legal battle between the parents may ensue.

The court may issue an order compelling the child to return and the non-compliance may be a reason for the non-relocating parent to start proceedings to considerably modify the parenting plan agreement. Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes informs that the “non-compliance may be taken into account by the court in a subsequent determination or modification of the parenting plan, access, or the time-sharing schedule”.

Get Reliable Help

If you are facing any legal issues related to child relocation after a divorce, it is highly probable that you will need an experienced Florida family attorney. Whether you are a parent seeking to relocate or objecting to a relocation, the legal team Rotella & Hernandez will listen to your case with compassion and advise you on the best course of action available. Contact us today, calling 786-571-8472.

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