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Florida’s parental relocation law

There are a wide variety of legal issues that can arise during the marriage dissolution process. Property division and spousal support may be primary financial concerns, but many Floridians who have children would agree that child custody and visitation is the most important consideration when divorcing.

Whether through divorce negotiations or litigation, a child custody determination and visitation arrangement will be ordered, but unlike many of the other divorce issues, child custody and visitation arrangements are subject to modification as life changes occur.

One way this can take place is through parental relocation. Moving is often necessary when a custodial parent obtains a new job or wishes to move closer to immediate family, but the law will allow such relocation only if it supports the child’s best interests.

Of course, if parents agree to the relocation, then the court will accept the change provided that visitation arrangements are made and transportation for noncustodial visitation is accounted for. The real issues arise when a noncustodial parent is not in agreement with parental relocation.

When this happens, a court will consider a number of factors in determining whether to allow the move. Among these factors are the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent, the child’s age and preference, the reasons for the proposed move, whether relocation will improve the lives of the custodial parent and the child, any history of domestic violence or substance abuse perpetrated by the noncustodial parent, and any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

As one can easily see, these factors are open for argument. While a custodial parent may think that a child will be able to maintain his or her relationship with a noncustodial parent, a custodial parent may argue that the distance will seriously damage that relationship.

It is advisable that those facing child custody and visitation issues like this consider obtaining skilled legal assistance. This way, a parent can ensure that his or her position is zealously argued for in a way that seeks to further the child’s best interests.


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