Some parents have a misconception that there will be no problem relocating with their child after a divorce – which is actually not true.
Change is undoubtedly inevitable as you move on from a painful separation or divorce and as your little one grows. One of these essential changes might be the need to move to another city, state, or even country.
Whether you are considering relocation because of an incredible job offer, to be closer to family or a support system, or other reason relocation of yourself and/or child will require careful planning, cooperation, and communication with your former partner or spouse.
Relocation and the Parenting Agreement
Relocation is not just transferring to a new home and environment. It will significantly affect the ability of a child to maintain contact with the other parent as well. It requires renegotiation of the parenting agreement that you and your spouse previously made.
Under the Family Law Act, you will have to give notice of your intent to move at least sixty days beforehand. This situation is especially vital if you’re planning to take the child with you. By doing so, you can have a sufficient amount of time to modify the parenting agreement with your ex-partner.
Best Interest of the Child Standard
Regardless of how good or enticing your reason is for moving, the court will still base its decision on the child’s best interest. Quite often, the courts will rule in support of not disturbing the life of a child any more than necessary when the custodial parent and non-custodial parent go to court over issues related to relocation.
Thus, a parent planning to relocate with the child must prove to the court that moving is in the best interest of the child.
What Does “Best Interest” Mean?
When we say the best interest of the child, it means the relationship of the child and the non-relocating parent will be maintained. Questions that will be asked may cover:
- What are the reasons of a parent for opposing or seeking relocation?
- How will moving affect future communication or contact with the other parent?
- What is the quality of the relationship between each parent and the child?
- To what degree will relocation affect the life of a child and that of the other parent?
As early as possible, the court expects a moving parent to inform a non-moving parent about relocation, preferably when the moving parent makes a decision to relocate.
In addition, various factors will be considered before making a final decision. Such factors include:
- The distance between the old home and new home: The court may approve a relocation that is a small distance between the new and old home. In Florida, you can move within 50 miles of your old home without much of an issue from the court.
- Child’s maturity and age: A judge may ask the child (if they are old enough and mature enough) whether they prefer to live with the non-relocating or relocating parent.
- Quality life: The court may also consider whether the child receive an equivalent leisure and education opportunity in a new place.
When Parents Take Their Child Without The Consent Of Other Parent?
In case a parent did not receive a notice to move, and his or her child was taken away without his or her consent by the other parent, immediate steps will be pushed through to enforce a parenting agreement.
Relocating and taking the child without notice can lead to serious penalties and you may be summoned to appear in court in the state or city you relocated from.
The Battle is Not Yours Alone! Get Help and Support from a Qualified Family Law Attorney
Whether you oppose the relocation of your child or you wish to relocate your child out of the state, you can depend on the experienced custody attorney at McGinn Law.
A relocation process can take a number of months to resolve. It is best to consult a custody lawyer and start collecting evidence to prevent or support relocation immediately. You should have an effective strategy in order to defend your position on either side.