Can My Ex Move Our Children Out of State?
When parents share joint custody of their children, relocating can be a huge issue. Indeed, one parent moving across the state, or out of the state, makes child time sharing a logistical nightmare. As such, when joint custody exists, parents do not have the right to simply pick up and move a child across the county. The relocation of children is governed by Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes. Florida law defines a ‘relocation’ as any move that lasts for more than 60 days and takes a child at least 50 miles away from their previous location. To relocate your child, your ex must either receive written consent from you, or approval from a court. If your ex is attempting to move your children without your consent, you need to take action.
When Can a Child Be Relocated?
First and foremost, children can be relocated out of the state if both parents consent to the move. When parents are unmarried and not living together, consent for the relocation should be given in a written form. If you believe that relocation is in the best interest of your child and your family, then giving your consent makes sense. However, if you feel that it is not in your best interests, you can withhold your consent. If you do not give your consent for your child to be relocated out of state, then your ex will need to receive approval to do so from a Florida court. Seeking approval for child relocation starts with filing a petition for relocation. This petition should include the following information:
- All known details of the proposed new location;
- The expected date of the move;
- The reasons for the relocation;
- A proposed schedule for parental visitation, including logistical information; and
- Confirmation that a notice of the proposed relocation has been sent to the other parent.
Using this information, the Florida court will then be able to assess whether or not the proposed relocation of the child is permissible under state law.
How Will a Court Resolve this Type of Case?
Florida courts try to stay out of familial decisions as much as possible. What does that mean for this type of case? Put simply, it means that if you fail to actively object to your ex’s proposed relocation of your children, then the court will almost certainly not intervene to stop the move. If you do object, the court will then review all circumstances related to the case to determine if a relocation is in the best interests of the child. Some of the most important factors that the court will consider are as follows:
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The effect the move would have on the well-being of the child;
- The reasonableness of the grounds given for the relocation;
- The vigorousness and reasonableness of the other parent’s objection to relocation; and
- If age appropriate, the desires of the child.
The main point here bears repeating: Upon receiving notice of a proposed relocation, you need to take action. If you want to stop or delay the move, please get your case into the hands of a child custody attorney immediately.
Schedule Your Family Law Consultation Today
For help, please call Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today at 407-521-7171. An experienced Orlando child custody attorney is standing by, ready to review your case. Our firm represents individuals and families throughout Central Florida, including in Osceola County, Orange County, Lake County and Seminole County.