Will Relocation Affect My Custody And Timesharing Arrangement?
It is not uncommon for people to relocate immediately or soon after a divorce. However, when you have children, relocating with the kids can be more difficult because it might impact your child custody and timesharing arrangement.
For many divorced parents, moving to a new state or country is the best way to get a fresh start following a divorce. However, if you are planning relocation with your children, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney about the potential effects of relocation on your child custody agreement.
Contact our Orlando child relocation attorneys at Donna Hung Law Group to discuss your particular situation and find out how moving to a new state could affect your existing custody and timesharing arrangement.
What is Relocation?
Contrary to popular belief, “relocation” is not just moving from one house to another. Under Fla. Stat. § 61.13001, the term “relocation” is defined as a change in location of the parent’s home that was established as their “principal residence” at the time of creating or modifying a custody or timesharing agreement.
However, for the change of location to be considered “relocation” under the statute, you should move at least 50 miles from your principal residence and for a period of 60 consecutive days or more.
Note: Any time you take your kids on vacation, it is considered “a temporary absence” from the principal residence rather than relocation.
Can Relocation Affect My Custody and Timesharing Arrangement?
Yes, it can. Under Florida law, both parents must reach an agreement regarding relocation and modify their existing custody and timesharing agreement accordingly.
When a parent wants to relocate with the children and the other parent consents to the relocation, both parents need to create a written agreement to address the following:
- Proof that both parents consent to the relocation;
- Establish a modified timesharing schedule for the non-relocating parent; and
- Describe any transportation arrangements for timesharing, if necessary.
It is advised to get help from a skilled family relocation attorney to help you draft a valid agreement regarding relocation. Once you have signed the written agreement, you will have to file it with the court.
What if the Non-Relocating Parent Opposes Relocation?
It is not uncommon for the non-relocating parent to oppose relocation. When this happens, the relocating parent will need to file a Petition to Relocate with the court. The petition will then be served on the other parent.
The petition must contain the following information:
- The date of your intended move;
- Reasons for the relocation;
- The address and phone number of your residence;
- Your proposed timesharing and visitation schedule for the non-relocating parent; and
- Your proposed transportation arrangements.
Once the other parent receives your petition, they have 20 days to respond. If no response is submitted, the court will grant your request for relocation without a court hearing.
If there is a hearing, the court will consider the following factors when determining whether the relocation would be in the best interests of the child:
- The child’s relationship with you and the non-relocating parent;
- The child’s needs;
- How the move could impact the child; and
- Whether the child will be able to maintain a relationship with the other parent after the move.
These and many other factors will be considered by the court to determine if you can relocate with your child. It is best to consult with an Orlando relocation lawyer to protect your rights, whether you are the non-relocating parent or the party who wishes to relocate with the kids. Contact Donna Hung Law Group to discuss your case. Call 407-999-0099 today.