Life often presents the need to relocate, whether for work, to be closer to family members, or a variety of other reasons. Where shared parental responsibility for a child is involved, moving can be difficult. An experienced Fort Lauderdale parental relocation attorney can help.
Sometimes we move by choice. In other circumstances, people have to move for reasons beyond their control. Whatever the reason for a move, relocation can have a significant impact on shared parental responsibility and time-sharing issues. Joint shared responsibility (formerly known as joint custody) is the norm, and a move out of state can make it impossible to maintain existing time-sharing schedules (formerly known as visitation schedules). Where the parent with primary responsibility seeks to move with a minor child or children, it can hurt the relationship between the non-primary parent and the children. While this may not be the intent driving the relocation, it is a concern addressed by the laws of the state of Florida.
Relocation under Florida law is a move of the permanent residence of a child more than 50 miles away from the current residence, for more than 60 days. Where the primary parent intends to relocate, the parent must do one of two things. First, the parent may obtain agreement to the move from the other parent and all others with time-sharing rights. Second, the parent may file and serve a Notice of Intent to Relocate.
As in any family law matter, the law prefers agreement amongst the parties. If both parents can agree on the terms of the relocation, the court will generally approve it. The agreement must be in writing, define the time-sharing rights of the non-moving parent, and describe any related transportation agreements, if necessary.
Sometimes, however, the parents cannot readily reach agreement. The moving parent must then give notice of the relocation to the other parent (and all others with time-sharing rights), as well as to the court. The Notice of Intent to Relocate contains quite a bit of detailed information about the proposed move, and why the move is in the best interests of the child. Moving without giving the required notice is considered a contempt of court. After notice, the non-moving spouse has 30 days in which to object to the proposed move. If the non-moving spouse does object, the court will set a hearing to determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child.
The court considers a number of factors to determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child. The quality of the child’s relationship with both parents, and with other siblings and important persons in the child’s life is an important factor. The reasons the parent desires to move or opposes the move are also considered, including whether the move will enhance the quality of life of the moving parent and the child, and the employment situation of both parents. The impact of the move on the child’s development, the child’s preference, and the feasibility and logistics of maintaining the relationship of the child and the non-relocating parent are other important considerations. The burden of proof is on the parent seeking to relocate to demonstrate that relocation is in the best interests of the child.
At all stages of relocation proceedings, the advice and representation of a Broward County relocation with children attorney can make a difference. It is important to gather those facts supporting your position, present them so as to best support your claims, and to file the required documents in a timely fashion. Serena Carroll, Esq. has successfully assisted both parents seeking to relocate, and parents opposing relocation. Ms. Carroll can help you put forward your best case pertaining to relocation. Contact her today at (954) 525-2050.