Taking Children Out Of State After A Divorce
Taking children out of the state during a divorce, and even after a divorce has been finalized can be difficult depending on how child time sharing issues have been resolved. A parent may want to take the child out of state for a vacation, or move permanently out of state for a new job opportunity. Either way, making this kind of move may require court approval.
A move by a parent from his primary residence or the address listed on a court order granting time sharing, to anywhere that is at least fifty miles away would meet the definition of relocation under Florida’s relocation law. This law governs how parents should legally handle the issue of moving children out of state for purposes other than vacation and to seek medical care.
The first step in getting permission to relocate is to file a petition in court, and notify the other parent of the petition. When filing this petition, the relocating parent has to include the reasons for the move. The parent will also need to show the court how time sharing would work after the move, including how transportation would be handled to allow for time sharing. The non-relocating parent can object to the petition and the move.
The decision on whether or not the parent will be allowed to relocate is made with the children’s best interest in mind. Therefore, if the judge decides that the move will negatively affect the children, especially because the children’s relationship with the non-relocating parent will be negatively affected, he can rule against a parent’s petition to relocate. Depending on the child’s age, the court may ask what the child’s preference is with regards to relocating.
Parents can also relocate by agreement, meaning that both parents agree to the move, and present the agreement to a judge for a final order. Parents’ who are discussing relocation should carefully discuss what the move would mean in terms of the non-relocating parent’s access to the children. Both parents should consult an attorney during these discussions, or at least have the relocation agreement reviewed by an attorney.
The law requires that any relocation agreement between the parents include a time sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent, and a description of any transportation arrangements that would need to be made to facilitate the time sharing schedule. Relocating without court approval or otherwise being in compliance with the law can lead to the parent being forced to return to the state and losing time sharing privileges.
Parents who only want to take their children on vacation and then return to the state have to consult the parenting agreement or order governing time sharing to see if this is allowed. There may be geographic restrictions, such as limiting travel to within the United States, and the agreement may require the other parent to be notified before an out of state vacation.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you are planning a vacation or seeking to relocate out of state, it is important that you follow the law. For more guidance on how you can file a petition for relocation, or discuss relocating by agreement with the other parent, contact our experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.