How to Relocate Out of State with Your Children

With the closure of divorce comes the opportunity to move on to the next chapter of one’s life. And sometimes ‘moving on’ can literally mean moving. Whether you’re chasing a new Job offer, returning to school, moving closer to family, or for any other reason, you may be looking to pick up and move to a new state. Depending on the terms of your divorce, especially if there are children involved, you may be required to renegotiate your agreement.

This is especially true if you’re the custodial parent. Unless there was a previously established agreement about future relocation, the noncustodial parent may object to the intended move because of how it will affect their ability to remain a part of their child’s life. If they object to your potential move, it may be left to the courts to decide whether your relocation is in the best interests of your children.

Laws concerning child custody relocation can vary from state to state so it’s best to research your local laws, or get in touch with your attorney to discuss what you need to do to ensure a successful move.

Florida Laws

In Florida, the custodial parent is required to notify the noncustodial parent if they want to move more than 50 miles away for 60 or more days.

  • Both Parents Agree: If both parents agree to the move, they can file a written agreement. It must include the noncustodial parent’s signed consent, any proposed modifications to the visitation schedule, and details of any arrangements made for transportation to facilitate the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. Even if both parties agree on every detail of the modified arrangement, the court needs to approve the relocation before the custodial parent can move.
  • Noncustodial Parent Objects: If the noncustodial parent objects to the move, the custodial parent needs to file a petition for relocation with the court, complete with details including: the street and mailing address of the new home, and any new phone numbers; a proposed visitation schedule for after the move, including any travel arrangements; reasons for the move, which can include a concrete Job offer or acceptance into a school program among other things; a notice informing the noncustodial parent how they can object to the petition, and the consequences if they fail to do so.

No matter the state, family court judges will always take the children’s best interests into account when deciding on a ruling. It’s up to the relocating parent to convince the court that the move is in the children’s best interest, which can include:

  • The children’s preference.
  • How the move will affect the children’s development while taking into account their age and special needs, if applicable.
  • How the relocation will improve the lives of parent and children.
  • Preserving the children’s relationship with their noncustodial parent, whether that’s through covering travel expenses or by offering extended visitation times during school breaks.
  • Reasons why the noncustodial parent objects to the move.
  • A history of abuse, domestic or otherwise, from the noncustodial parent.

Whether or not you’re expecting an objection from your ex-spouse, if you’re planning to move out of state, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss your plans. Our family law attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks have the skills and experience necessary to assist you in putting together your proposal to move. Contact us today and we will work to ensure your potential move goes as smoothly as possible.

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