In general, family courts in Florida prefer separated or divorced parents to be as active as possible in their children’s lives. This means remaining close enough to allow for adequate parenting time.
However, it is not unusual for one parent to consider relocating because of a job opportunity, to be closer to other family members or for various other reasons. Relocation can be emotional for both sides, and the courts will carefully weigh the matter against the best interests of the child.
Obtaining court approval
It may be difficult for a parent to obtain court approval for a move that will cause great disruption to the child’s life, including the disruption of scheduled time with the other parent. The relocating parent will have the burden of proving the benefits of the move for the child will outweigh the disruption. For example, the court may expect the parent to demonstrate the following about the move:
- Location and distance from the other parent
- Quality of schools compared to the current school
- Safety of the new neighborhood
- Improved opportunities for special needs
- Proximity to extended family
- Child’s feelings about the move
The relocating parent should also prepare a plan for the child to spend comparable time with the other parent, including details about the child’s travel requirements.
Naturally, the relocating parent may have a more difficult time obtaining court approval if the other parent contests the move. The non-relocating parent has the right to present the court with information about the benefits for the child if the relocation does not happen.
Speaking with an experienced family law attorney can give you a better idea of what your options are if you are interested in relocation.