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What happens if I want to relocate with my child post-divorce?

When you and your spouse divorce, you may wonder whether you have the ability to move away from Florida. Due to a new job or new opportunities for your child, you may wish to file a petition to relocate if you hold sole custody.

In Florida, you must follow specific steps to file an accurate petition to move. Your ex-spouse may agree to the changes or object to them, but a judge works to determine the best interest of your child when dealing with relocation. If you wish to move with your child, you may want to hire an experienced attorney to aid in bringing your petition to court.

Do you require an agreement or a petition?

If you and your ex-spouse agree to your move with your child, you must sign a written agreement that:

  • Consents to the relocation
  • Describes access elements and time-sharing schedules
  • Determines transportation arrangements related to custody

In many cases, obtaining an agreement from a noncustodial parent to move a child out of Florida may prove difficult. Your ex-spouse may feel that your relocation may strain his or her relationship with your child, and they may object to your request.

If you cannot sign a written agreement with your ex-spouse, you must file a petition to relocate with the court. You will serve the petition to your ex-spouse and any other individual with visitation rights, such as grandparents.

Developing a petition with Florida court

A petition to relocate must include:

  1. A description of your new residence with exact address if known
  2. Your new mailing address
  3. Your home telephone number if known
  4. Your move-in date
  5. The specific reasons for your move
  6. A proposal for a new visitation schedule after your relocation

After filing, and if your ex-spouse objects, the court will decide whether the move will prove beneficial or detrimental to your child’s health, safety and security. A judge will consider, among other things:

  • The involvement and quality of the relationship with the child and each parent
  • The age and maturity of the child and his or her needs
  • The feasibility in upholding a good relationship with the child and the noncustodial parent
  • The child’s preference
  • The reasons the parents seek relocation or object to it

To ensure the legality of your move, you may wish to speak with an attorney committed to providing expertise in developing a proper petition. Relocation is possible for you and your child, but Florida court respects the relationship your child has with each loved one that holds visitation rights. Know that if you wish to relocate, the court will first determine the best interests of your child and consider your reasoning after.

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