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Child Relocation

Miami Lawyers Representing People in Child Custody Cases

People who share custody of a child often live in the same city, in part so that they can both exercise their parental rights. In many instances, though, one parent will want to move to another jurisdiction and will want to take the child with them. Relocating to another city or state can be complicated when parents share custody, and the mere desire to move a child is not sufficient to convince the courts that it should be permitted. If you share custody of a child and you or your co-parent intend to move, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Miami attorney Sandy T. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital & Family Law, who regularly helps people dealing with relocation issues, and if you hire him, he can advise you of your options for seeking your desired outcome.

What Constitutes Child Relocation

In Florida, the location where a parent resides at the time a custody action is filed or when a court’s most recent order regarding custody was issued is deemed the parent’s principal residence. Vacations and other temporary trips for health or work purposes are not deemed relocation. If a parent moves fifty or more miles away from his or her residence for a minimum of sixty days, however, it is considered a relocation. If the parent wishes to maintain his or her custody rights after the move or have the child move to the new home, it is considered child relocation.

Consent to Relocate a Child

If both parents agree to the relocation of a child,  they can enter into a written agreement stating that the co-parent and any other party with time-sharing rights consent to the move. The agreement also has to describe any arrangements for transporting the child between the two homes and establish the access or time-sharing schedule for the parent who is not moving. If the parent’s time-sharing rights are the subject of an existing order or pending case, the agreement has to be ratified by the court.

Notably, however, a father’s consent to child relocation is not required if a child was born out of wedlock. In such instances, the mother is considered the child’s guardian, which entitles her to primary custody and residential care of the child absent a court order stating otherwise. As such, a single mother has the right to relocate a child without the father’s consent unless there is a pending paternity or custody action or order defining the father’s rights.

Contested Relocation

If the co-parent does not agree to a proposed relocation, the party who wishes to move can file a petition to relocate with the court that has jurisdiction over the custody matter. The petition must set forth the projected date of the move, the parent’s new address, the reason for moving, and must include a proposed time-sharing schedule, and must be served on the co-parent. The co-parent can then file an objection to the petition, setting forth the extent to which he or she is involved in the child’s life and the reasons for opposing the petition. The courts will then evaluate whether the proposed relocation is in the best interest of the child by assessing how the move will impact the child’s emotional, physical, and educational development. The court will also evaluate the child’s preference, the parent’s reasons for seeking and opposing the relocation,  and whether allowing the move will enrich the parent and child’s quality of life.

Confer With a Skilled Miami Child Custody Attorney

Sharing custody of a child can be complicated, as what either parent wants is not always in the best interest of the child. If you or your co-parent want to move with your child, it is critical to speak to an attorney about your rights and obligations. The skilled Miami attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are adept at helping people fight to protect their parental rights, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our office is located in Aventura, and we frequently represent people in family law matters in Miami.  You can reach us to set up a confidential and free consultation by using our form online or calling us at 800.596.0579.