Relocation After Divorce

As adults it is often advantageous to move or relocate to promote our careers, personal relationships or to help others in times of need.  The Florida Family Court understands that there are circumstances where relocation is in the best interest of both parents and their children.  It also understands that parents should not be automatically bound to a city or state just because children and a parenting plan are involved.  

However, there are instances when removing a child from their only known environment or the other parent would be detrimental to the child. At Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. we are here to help you do what is best for you and your children, whether that be fighting for your right to relocate or keeping your child close to home.

In Florida, relocating a child is defined as moving a child more than 50 miles from his or her principal place of residence at the time the last order establishing or modifying time sharing or visitation was signed by the judge for at least 60 days.

If the parent with primary custody of the child seeks to relocate and both parents and every other person entitled access or visitation with a child agrees in writing to the relocation, the court will typically find that relocating is in the best interest of the child and grant the request.  However, if an objection to the relocation is made and no agreement can be reached, the party seeking the relocation must file a petition with the court requesting permission to move.

There is no presumption for or against relocating a child and the court will generally consider the following in rendering a decision on relocation:

  • The child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing the relocation and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
  • The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development;
  • The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or through substitute arrangements;
  • The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent seeking the relocation and the child;
  • The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child;
  • That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations; and
  • Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.

The parent wishing to relocate has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that relocation is in the best interest of the child. If that burden of proof is met, the burden shifts to the nonrelocating parent or other person to show that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

If a relocation request is granted it is within the court’s jurisdiction to require the requesting party to bear the brunt of the financial burden necessary to ensure that the nonrelocating parent continues to have visitation and contact with the child(ren) sufficient to sustain a health parent/child relationship.

If you feel trap because by a time sharing agreement or visitation order involving your children and there is a better opportunity for both you and your children elsewhere, Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. is here to help.  If your ex has threatened or even relocated with your child against your will, Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. is here to protect your rights.  We are her to fight for you and your children.  If you have any questions concerning child relocation or about any other matter involving family law please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.