Relocations Of Children Subject To Custody Orders Or When Custody Litigation Is Pending
Relocation refers to a parent moving with a minor child who is subject to a time sharing/custody/visitation order from the court for a period of at least 60 days and more than 50 miles from the residence where they last lived when the most recent court order was entered.
Contact our Brevard County child relocation lawyer to discuss your questions about relocation.
Melbourne, Florida, Lawyers Helping With Long-Distance Parenting
If the parent does not modify the time sharing (custody/visitation) agreement, he or she must continue to adhere to the last court order, and contempt charges can be filed to enforce the order. Further, the relocating parent must have the other parent’s permission to change the children’s schools if shared parental responsibility has been ordered. If you wish to relocate, you should plan on contacting an experienced family law attorney immediately.
Before relocating, the relocating parent must either get the written consent of the other parent or must file and formally serve a petition requesting that the court authorize the relocation. Upon service of a Petition to Relocate the nonrelocating parent MUST, within 20 days of service, file a written objection. If no objection is filed, the court can grant the relocation pursuant to the relocating parent’s petition. The objection must include the specific reasons for the objection and disclose the nonrelocating parent’s current relationship and involvement with the children. In its order the court should ensure there are provisions for long-distance time-sharing (visitation) with the nonrelocating parent sufficient to maintain the relationship with the children.
The parent requesting relocation with the children has the burden to show the court by a preponderance of the evidence that the move is in the children’s best interests. Many parents are denied their request to relocate with the children because they fail to address how the move will be in the children’s best interest. A thorough investigation of the community, education opportunities, etc., is a must when petitioning the court for a relocation with children. On the other hand, although case law is clear that the move must be in the children’s best interest, some judges will take a move that is in the parent’s best interest and find that the good fortune will also enhance the child’s life. It is a very fact-intensive hearing wherein the requesting parent must meet a heavy burden.
The factors the court must consider are:
- Nonrelocating parent’s relationship with the children
- How the move affects the current time-sharing/visitation schedule
- Feasibility that an alternative visitation schedule will maintain the current relationship between the nonrelocating parent and children
- Age and developmental stage of the children
- The child’s preference may be taken into consideration
- Reasons for relocation
- Current and prospective employment and opportunities of requesting parent
- Whether move is sought in good faith
- Whether there has been substance or domestic abuse by either parent
- The extent to which the nonrelocating parent is providing financial support for the child
- How the move will affect the child’s physical, education and emotional development
The statute provides for expedited hearings before the court. Generally, a temporary hearing must be held within 30 days of filing a temporary motion and the final hearing/trial must be held within 90 days of filing a Notice for Trial.
If you have plans to relocate or are served with a Petition to Relocate or Notice of Intent to Relocate with minor children, a timely call to our office can make all the difference.
We believe your parental rights are important and the attorneys with Platt Hopwood Russell & Cole have the experience and attitude necessary to protect these rights.