When couples go their separate ways, either by divorce or otherwise, its common to want to move or relocate. However, when a couple shares a child, relocation is anything but simple. Both parents have a right to see their child, whether the custody agreement is a joint custody arrangement or primary. If your ex is looking to relocate and they wish to bring your child with them, you can object and bring the issue before a court, or you might try to solve the issue through mediation. Whatever the case, if your child may be relocating, you have a right to be heard.
The Rules for Relocating
In Florida, a parent cannot relocate with their child further than 50 miles away from their current home without first informing the child’s other parent. Once the child’s parent has been notified, along with any other individuals with custodial rights, they have a limited amount of time to object to the move before it is allowed to take place. If a parent, custodial or noncustodial, objects to their child’s relocation, they can bring the matter to court, where a full hearing will be held to settle the issue.
What Can I Do As the Relocating Parent?
As the relocating spouse, you must be sure to notify your child’s other parent of your intention to move before you do so. If the other parent objects, you are not allowed to relocate with your child until after the court has met and decided on the best course of action. During the hearing, you may work with your attorney to exercise your rights as a parent and prove that your relocation is in the best interest of your child.
The court will want to make a decision in the best interest of the child, which is why you need to prove that your move will preserve their health and happiness, or perhaps offer other enrichments not available where you currently live. For example, if you are interested in relocating to Europe, you could make the case that the new move would be an invaluable cultural experience. Or, perhaps you could argue that the new school your child would attend has a higher educational value.
How Can I Keep My Child From Relocating?
If your ex is threatening to move away and take your child with them, you have every right to object to the matter in court. When you do not want your child to relocate, your legal options depend greatly on your current parenting plan. A parent who already has primary custody of their child, for example, may be more likely to keep their child living with them and prevent their relocating with the other parent. However, if parents share custody, or if the relocating parent has primary custody, the case can be a bit trickier. In order to obtain a favorable outcome, you and your attorney will need to utilize your time during the hearing to show why your child would be better off remaining with you.
To prevent your child from relocating, you will need to prove that your child is safe and cared for within your home, and that your community is a valuable asset to his or her life. If your child is involved in sports teams, church groups, theater clubs, or other community activities, the court may agree that allowing your child to foster these relationships is in his or her best interest. The court will also evaluate other connections to the area, like other children who live in your household, or nearby grandparents and cousins, and so on.
Dealing with child custody issues is never easy, especially if your other parent wishes to relocate. If you are dealing with a relocation case, our experienced family attorneys are prepared to help.
Contact Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC to discuss your child custody case with our Boca Raton family law attorneys.