Child custody and relocation in Florida


Moving is a part of life. With mobility enjoyed by many in today's world, new opportunities emerge, both for individuals' personal and professional lives. Generally speaking, moving is only challenging on a financial and emotional front. Especially when an individual has lived in one place for a significant period of time. Yet, when relocation involves a child of divorced parents, then the matter can evolve into a legal battle.

Under Florida law, a custodial parent can relocate with his or her child in one of two ways. The first, and easiest, is by obtaining consent to move with the child from the noncustodial parent. The agreement must specify the visitation arrangement for the noncustodial parent, though, and it should also clarify how the child will be transported for those visits. Generally speaking, once those matters are addressed, the relocation can occur.

The second way a custodial parent can relocate with his or her child is by petitioning the court for authorization to move without the noncustodial parent's consent. A judge will decide whether the relocation further the child's best interests, but the burden of proof is on the custodial parent who is seeking to move. However, if the noncustodial parents fails to file an answer to the petition, then there is a presumption that relocation is in the child's best interests. Of course, when making his or her decision, a judge will look at a number of factors, any one of which could be crucial to his or her determination.

Therefore, Floridians who are amidst a relocation battle, whether seeking to pursue a move or prevent it, should ensure that they can clearly and persuasively articulate why their position protects the child's best interests. In many instances, a family law attorney is able to help advocate for these parents, putting forth evidence and witness testimony to buttress their claims. Thus, those who want assistance in their dispute should consider speaking with an attorney of their choosing.

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