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Relocation with Children During Divorce

Many people desire to relocate when facing divorce for various reasons. For some, the South Florida area proves too expensive to afford on one income. For others, they desire to live closer to family members to gain assistance caring for the children. In Florida, if you are facing a divorce and want to relocate with the children, you have to file a petition to relocate with the court. If the other party objects to the children relocating then the judge must decide on the matter.

First, it is important to understand what the term "relocation" means under Florida law. Relocation is a change of the parent's residence at the time of filing the pending action for divorce. The change in location must be at least 50 miles from the residence and for at least 60 consecutive days. The 60 day requirement makes clear that long vacations or absences from your home to seek things like healthcare do not trigger the relocation statute.

If you move with the children before petitioning to relocate there could be significant consequences. The court could hold a parent in contempt of court, could compel the return of the child, and the court can consider the relocation in any later time-sharing modifications or disputes.

If the parents disagree on the requested relocation then it is left up for the judge to decide based on a number of factors. Factors that are considered by the court include the age of the child, the reasons for the relocation, the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent, how the child is doing in school, the local activities of the child, the friends of the child, the family members present in the competing places, and the history of involvement with the parents. Another important consideration is a financial one and whether the objecting parent is supporting the child financially.

The parent requesting the relocation must prove that the relocation is in the child's best interests. Relocation cases are given priority in the court's and must be determined quickly. If you are seeking to relocate in the midst of divorce with your children, it is important to seek the advice of a family law attorney. Contact our office at 562-531-9132 or assistant@vettelaw.com for a consultation.