If you are a parent of a child and you retain at least some time-sharing/custody rights (most divorces in Florida allow for this), and an ex-spouse is attempting to move your children out of Florida, then there are rights that you can pursue in legally objecting to the move. A court will have to approve any relocation that is more than 50 miles away from your ex-spouse’s current residence for longer than 60 days, and you can work with an attorney to present your best reasons against the move.
Your Ex-Spouse Cannot Move Your Children Without an Order
Assuming that the proposed out-of-state location your ex-spouse is attempting to move is at least 50 miles from the current residence (whether in-state or out-of-state) and for over 60 days, the court will have to issue a new order allowing for the relocation. If you can work with your ex-spouse to reach an agreement regarding the relocation and the new time-sharing schedule that will be involved, then she can file that with a court and obtain an order without a hearing.
It is important to note, however, that no relocation can occur without an order, regardless of whether you agree, and relocation without an order can place the moving parent in contempt of court.
Taking Legal Steps to Object to the Proposed Move Away
If you do not want your ex-spouse to move away with the children, then she will have to file a petition with the court seeking approval of the relocation and also serve the petition on you as the other parent. This petition should outline the proposed new location, new time-sharing schedule, and the reasons for the move, such as a new job.
If you receive a petition, you must act quickly in responding with an objection or else a court can approve the relocation without your input. In responding to the petition, you will need to file an objection with the court which outlines all the reasons you disagree with the proposed move, and specifically why you believe it will not be in the best interests of the children, as that is what the court will rely on in approving or denying the proposed move. You will also need to present information to the court regarding your current relationship with the children, including how much time you spend with them and your level of participation in their lives.
You are encouraged to work with an experienced Florida family law attorney in presenting your objections to the court, as an attorney will understand what the court is looking for in its best interests analysis of the proposed move and will help you articulate your best arguments to the court on those points. Best interests factors that a court will consider in deciding to approve or deny a proposed move include:
- The reasons for and against the proposed move
- The preference of the child
- The ability of both parents to have an ongoing presence in the child’s life following the proposed move
- The age of the child
- The ability of either either parents to meet the child’s needs and their demonstrated record in doing so
- History of drug use or domestic violence among either parent
- Other factors affecting the child’s best interests
Getting a Temporary Order to Stop a Move
If another parent is seeking to relocate a child, or has already done so, you can also take immediate action to get a temporary order from the court either preventing the move or taking action against the other parent for making the move without court approval. An experienced Florida family law attorney can you further assist you with seeking a temporary order.
Legal Help in Your Florida Child Move Away Matter
Whether you are seeking to move to a different location with a child or are seeking to prevent another parent from moving away with your child, The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami can help. Contact our office today to set up a consultation with a trusted and caring family law attorney.