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Hoping to Move? How to Handle Moving with Children after a Divorce

When parents divorce, there are numerous issues related to shared children that must be addressed. Aside from child custody issues and child support payments, the potential relocation of the custodial parent is a frequently-arising question for which divorced parents often do not remember to account.

Relocation can happen for a variety of reasons, including job change or simply a desire to move to a better neighborhood, to cut costs, or to place children in a different school system. What happens if the custodial parent intends to relocate but the non-custodial parent has visitation rights? Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to go about moving as a custodial parent in this situation. Each step takes place within the context of petitioning the court for relocation, a must for a custodial parent who intends to move.

Contents of the Petition

The petition must include the new residence’s description, including the new residence’s physical address, the city, and the state in which it is located. It also must include the mailing address and home telephone number of the new residence (if one has been established). The petition also must include a specific and detailed explanation of why, when, and how the custodial parent intends to relocate, which the court will review carefully.

A New Custody Agreement

Included or attached to the petition, the custodial parent attempting to relocate must make a revised custody agreement proposition. The proposed new schedule must be specific and should be reasonably agreeable to the non-custodial parent (as they will be given an opportunity to object to the petition before the court).

An Opportunity to Object

As mentioned above, the non-custodial parent receives an opportunity to object to the relocation. This opportunity occurs after the petition has been filed. The petition filed by the custodial parent must include a statement that the non-custodial parent has 20 days to file his or her objection.

The Best Interests of the Child

Underlying each of these issues is a base priority in Florida family law. In every family law case or conflict, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child or children. This generally means ensuring there is an opportunity for both parents to participate in interacting with, parenting, and providing for their shared children. Relocations that interfere with one parent’s ability to care for or visit with his or her children will not be looked upon favorably by the court.

If you are a custodial parent looking to move, you likely will need the help of a qualified family law attorney to assist you in filing your petition with the court and working through difficulties with both the judge and the non-custodial parent. Alternatively, if you are a non-custodial parent and the custodial parent of your child or children is filing a petition to relocate and you would like to make an objection to the move, the help of a family lawyer may be necessary to ensure that your tine-sharing and parenting rights are preserved. At Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, experienced family law attorneys are available to assist you, whether you have custody of your shared children or not. Call 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.

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