Fort Lauderdale Child Relocation Attorney
After a divorce, in many cases either the primary residence is sold and the proceeds distributed to the parties, or one party continues to live in the primary residence while the other party looks for a new place to live. Sometimes the parent with primary custody will be awarded the primary residence to provide more stability for the children during this time of transition in their lives. The other parent often will find a place nearby in the same city, in part to be close to the kids and also because a job and other ties likely are present in the area. The parenting plan and timesharing arrangement ordered by the court then will be based on the two parents living in close proximity and having frequent contact with the children.
There may come a time, however, when one parent needs to move farther away, making the current custody and timesharing arrangement unfeasible. The move may be out of state or even out of the country. The reason may be job-related, to be near or take care of an elderly parent, or simply to make a change or a new start.
Whatever the reason, timesharing is a domestic relations order, and relocation of a child requires a modification of that order. Even if the parents agree on the relocation, they still must file the proper paperwork with the court.
Child Relocation Under Florida Law
If the parties do not agree, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition with the court, stating the reasons for the move, along with a proposed revised timesharing schedule. If the other parent objects to the relocation, he or she must respond to the petition and state the objections.
The court will hold a hearing and consider the arguments for and against the relocation. The judge is required to consider a long list of factors in making the decision, including:
- The child’s relationship with the relocating parent, the nonrelocating parent, and other significant persons in the child’s life
- The age and emotional development of the child
- The feasibility of preserving a meaningful relationship with the nonrelocating parent
- The child’s preference
- Whether relocation will enhance the quality of life for parent and child, such as greater financial or emotional benefits and educational opportunities
- The reasons each parent is seeking or opposing the relocation
- Current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and whether relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the relocating parent
- If the relocation is being sought in good faith
- If the relocating parent has met obligations to other parent, such as child support, spousal support, and marital property and debt obligations
Seek Experienced Legal Representation in Your South Florida Relocation Matter
Given the many factors the court must consider and the wide discretion the judge has in deciding issues of relocation, including modifying the parenting plan, timesharing, and other child custody and support orders, it is essential to be represented by an attorney experienced with relocation. In South Florida, contact Jennifer Kane Waterway, P.A. if you are seeking or challenging a relocation and related domestic relations orders.