Parental relocation of a child or children after a divorce or paternity judgment can be a very contentious and complex issue. At David Chico Law Group an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and present your arguments in the most effective manner before the court.
When a custodial parent wishes to relocate with a child more than 50 miles away, that parent must follow specific procedural rules, and demonstrate to the court that the move is in the child’s best interest. Florida statute 61.13001 guides the party through the factors the court will consider in determining whether the move is in the child’s best interest.
Relocating a child without complying with the statutory requirements subjects the relocating parent to contempt and other proceedings to return the child to the jurisdiction. It may also be taken into account by the court if the non-custodial parent seeks modification of the original agreement to increase his/her visitation with the child.
Pursuant to the relocation statute, the custodial parent cannot move during the time the other party has to object to the move. Nor can the parent move without court approval if the other parent has filed an objection to the move. If the non-custodial parent objects to the move there will be a hearing where the court will determine if the proposed move is in the best interest of the children. In deciding whether to allow the move, the court will consider all facts and circumstances, including:
- The quality and extent of the relationship between the child and the non-relocating party, including siblings, half-siblings and other significant persons in the child’s life
- The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development
- The feasibility of maintaining the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent
- The child’s preference, taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity
- Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent and child, including, but not limited to, financial, emotional or educational benefits
- The reasons the parties are either seeking or opposing the relocation
- The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and whether the relocation is necessary to improve that situation
- Whether the relocation is being brought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his/her financial obligations to the other party, including child support, spousal support and marital property/debt obligations
- The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.
- Whether there is a history of substance abuse by either parent
- Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child
The parent wishing to relocate has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence (greater weight of the evidence) that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. If that burden is met, the objecting parent has the burden to prove that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.
Our firm will work closely with each client to identify factors relevant to child custody and relocation issues and effectively communicates those factors to the court.
At David Chico Law Group we effectively advocate for the rights and interests of our clients and their families in post-divorce relocation cases and in all aspects of family law. Whether you are demanding that child relocation be stopped, or you have questions about Florida child relocation law, contact us today at 407-933-7703 to schedule a consultation.