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Clearwater Divorce Lawyer (Based on 36 Reviews)
727-683-1472 801 West Bay Drive, Suite 713
Largo, FL 33770
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How Relocation Affects Your Child Custody Arrangement


Relocating, whether due to personal reasons or for work, is often a complicated process, but it can be particularly complex when two parents have separated or divorced. Moving to a new city or state represents more than just a  new start for the parties involved when two parents share custody. In fact, relocating can have a significant impact on an existing custody arrangement, which is why it’s so important for parents to have a thorough understanding not only of their parental rights, but also their legal obligations when it comes to modifying a parenting plan and relocating during or after divorce.

Relocating Comes with Legal Requirements for Co-Parents 

Before planning on moving, it’s important for co-parents in Florida to understand that such a relocation can only happen after certain requirements have been met. For instance, most parenting plans bar a parent from relocating more than 50 miles away from a current residence without first sending notice to the other co-parent (no less than two months before the intended move). The child’s other co-parent will then have 30 days to either agree to the relocation or object to it.

Relocation by Agreement 

If able to reach a new arrangement via mutual agreement, the parents must enter into an updated written agreement memorializing the change. This agreement must clarify that both co-parents consent to the relocation and must also be accompanied by:

  • Details about the travel arrangements so that the child can continue visitation with the non-custodial parent; and
  • A new time-sharing schedule that takes the relocation into account.

As long as the court approves the new agreement, it can be implemented as a part of the preexisting custody arrangement.

Relocation by Court Order 

If a co-parent contests the relocation, then the parent who wants to move must seek approval from the court. Besides including description of the new residence and the date of the move, the petitioning parent will need to include an explanation for the reason for the move. If, for instance, the co-parent obtained a new, better paying job in a different location, then he or she should attach the new job offer to the petition. Eventually, the court will assess the petition and determine whether a relocation is in a child’s best interests based on:

  • The reason for the relocation;
  • The distance of the move;
  • The child’s age;
  • The financial benefits of relocating;
  • The parents’ ability to continue to facilitate visitation; and
  • The hardships that would occur if the relocation were prevented.

Only if these factors indicate that a relocation would be best for the child will a judge approve a relocation.

Seek Legal Advice 

If you or your co-parent are thinking about relocating after divorce, it’s important that you seek legal guidance right away. At Cairns Law, our experienced Clearwater child relocation lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, while always prioritizing your child’s best interests. Call us at 727-683-1472 to set up an appointment with our office today.




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