After Divorce Can My Ex Move Away With My Kids?
One of the most painful issues in many divorces revolves around custody and visitation. When both parents adore their kids, it is incomprehensible to a non-custodial parent that daily interactions will be cut short. Even worse is the thought of the custodial parent leaving town altogether, which would alter visitation in unimaginable ways. What does Florida law say about these situations?
It’s important to understand that a distant move is not allowable under Florida law without a judge’s consent. That being said, a judge must consider a number of issues when making decisions of such magnitude:
- What is the reason for the move?
- Will the move provide better circumstances for the child’s life?
- How will the move impact visitation?
- What relationship does the child have with each parent?
- Does the child wish to move?
- How will the move impact a child’s development?
- What kind of expense will be incurred in order to maintain visitation?
- Has the parent who is not moving kept up on child support and visitation in the past?
- Does either parent have a history of violence or addiction?
- Are there other mitigating factors that must be contemplated?
When a custodial parent wishes to move more than 50 miles for the foreseeable future, consent must be given by the non-custodial parent. Both parents will then sign an agreement of terms that outline the time-sharing and transportation for visits. If that consent is not forthcoming, the parent who is moving must file a petition to relocate, and it must be served on the other parent. That document must outline the desired time-sharing plan, and must include information related to the new location, as well as the date of the proposed move. The parent who is served then has 20 days to respond with the objections to the move. A failure to respond could result in a judge rubber stamping the plan without a hearing, so it is important to let the court know why such a move would be deleterious to your child.
What to Expect in a Hearing
At a hearing, both sides will have the opportunity to present the reasons for their stance. The parent who wishes to move will have to explain why the move is critical and how it will impact the child in a positive way. The parent contesting the move must demonstrate how a move will interfere with the parent-child relationship. Providing a history of one’s involvement with the child since the divorce and noting the stark contrast after the move will be one strategy to use.
You Need a Family Practice Attorney Now
These matters proceed very quickly. If you truly believe that the desired move is not in the best interests of your child, now is the time to fight. At WiseLieberman, our experienced Boca Raton family law attorneys can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.