During the process of divorce, and certainly after, it is common for both ex-spouses to need individual space. In most cases, one or both spouses move out of the marital home and begin to establish themselves as newly single individuals. However, what happens when one ex-spouse wants to relocate and there are children involved? For many divorced parents, this “what if” becomes reality all too quickly leaving them feeling overwhelmed, angry, abandoned, or hurt.
Even the most amicable divorced parents can find themselves in the battle of a lifetime when the topic of parental relocation is raised. While the best interests of the child may be at the heart of both parents, the conflict can become too much landing parents back in the courtroom.
A divorced parent should seriously consider the following about relocation:
- Parents should prepare themselves for the possibility that they will have to take their relocation situation before a judge. When parents cannot reach an agreement, the judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child, while considering the facts of the case, such as the reason for the proposed relocation.
- Parents should also realize that there is no “cookie-cutter” solution to difficult parenting matters, including relocation. Florida courts will consider each situation individually and in terms of applicable state laws.
- The court will often consider the child’s well-being over the requirement of both parents being proximate to one another. In cases where the relocating parent is doing so in order to secure a better quality of living for themselves and the child, the court may look favorably on relocating the child away from the other parent. However, it varies from case to case.
- If the non-custodial parent chooses to fight the relocation of the other parent, the custodial parent must then be prepared to prove that the relocation will be in the child’s best interests. Fla. Stat. 61.13001(7) sets forth the factors the Court is required to evaluate in deciding the issue of relocation.
- Parents who are considering relocation for any reason should be prepared to handle the aftermath of their decision. In many cases, friends and family will criticize the decision to separate the child from one of his or her parents, regardless of what is truly best for the child’s well-being. In some cases, the court will also criticize the decision to relocate and may challenge a parent’s motives.
- Parents considering relocation should also be prepared for the possible emotional toll that relocation can take, such as a damaged relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. There is also the possibility that the custodial parent will feel guilty for relocating despite being able to secure a better life.
Relocation is one of the many complex issues of divorce—during the proceedings and after. Fortunately, Florida parents do not have to work through such complexities alone. At the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A, we know how hard it can be to strike a balance between the needs of each parent and the best interests of the child or children involved in divorce. We proudly represent clients across Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties. Contact us at 561-429-3924 or via email [email protected] to schedule a consultation to discuss your family law matter.