West Palm Beach Parental Relocation with Child
When a parent wishes to relocate following a divorce or paternity action in Florida, the process can be complicated. In many instances, parents seek to relocate with their children so that they can pursue a career or educational opportunities. Parents also may seek to relocate to be closer to family so that they can receive financial and emotional support from extended family members. Parental relocation is often one of the most upsetting and contentious child custody issues that a parent may face. When the relocation is a significant distance, it may have an adverse impact on the parent who does not move away in terms of their timeshare and cost of having the child come stay with them.
Whether you are a parent seeking to move away with your child(ren) or the parent who will be left behind, our firm can assist you. A court’s determination about whether to grant a parental relocation request typically turns on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the children’s relationship to their parents and extended family, the motivations of the parent who seeks to move or opposes the move and a variety of other factors relevant to the best interest of your child(ren). Our West Palm Beach family law attorneys will carefully review the facts of your particular case to develop the best possible strategy in handling the parental relocation request and to provide a realistic expectation of the likelihood that the court will grant the relocation.
Parental Relocation under Florida Law
Florida law imposes specific procedures that must be followed if a parent seeks to relocate with a child more than 50 miles from their current residence. A parent’s compliance with the statutory requirements is very important because failure to comply can result in the judge making an unfavorable change in the current parenting plan and time-sharing arrangement. A parent who seeks to relocate with his or her child(ren) must provide written notice to the other parent along with a proposed revised timeshare schedule. The notice provided to the non-relocating parent must also specifically set forth the reasons for moving with the minor child(ren). A number of reasons that might be considered a legitimate basis for a relocation request include the following:
- Obtaining a job with more pay or more opportunity for advancement out of state
- Participation in a higher education program
- Increased availability of family financial and emotional support
- Opportunity to start a business
- Seeking better care for serious illnesses or health problems
It should be understood that the above list is merely illustrative as there are many legitimate reasons that might support a parental request to relocate with minor child(ren). The court will weigh the interest of both parents and the impact on both parents of granting/denying the move away, but the principal consideration is “the best interest of the child(ren).”
If you are considering an agreement with the other parent, it is imperative that you seek legal advice from an experienced West Palm Beach family law attorney. Any such agreement must be in writing, and there are many issues that may arise that must be addressed to avoid subsequent problems and disputes. If you do enter into an agreement to allow the other parent to relocate with the child(ren), but fail to address important issues, it may be very difficult to correct the problem later.
Contested West Palm Beach Parental Relocation
When parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding relocation, the court will weigh a number of factors in determining whether to grant the move away as well as how to adjust timeshare and parenting arrangements. A parent may not relocate the child more than 50 miles if the other parent objects without obtaining permission from the court. If the parent who is not planning to relocate objects to the move, the court will schedule a hearing to consider whether the relocation request should be granted. The family court judge will consider a number of factors, including the following:
- The motivations and justification supporting the relocation
- Impact of the move on the child(ren)’s emotional, physical, and educational development
- Adverse effects on the non-moving parent’s timeshare and parent-child relationship
- Time spent by the non-moving parent with the child(ren) prior to the move as well as anticipated time together after the move
- The relationship of both parents to the child
- Whether the relocation will enhance the quality of life for the relocating parent and children including but not limited to financial, educational and emotional benefits
- Other relevant factors
The court will carefully examine the child(ren)’s relationship with both parents as well as extended family. The court will also carefully consider the motivations of both parents. If the custody dispute has been particularly contentious or there is a history of the moving parent engaging in conduct designed to frustrate the timeshare of the other parent, this may be an important factor. The court will attempt to make a decision that it considers to be in the best interest of your child(ren) with an understanding that the law views frequent and continuing contact with both parents as being in a child’s best interest.
Whether you are objecting to the location of your child(ren) or you are considering moving, our experienced and dedicated Palm Beach parental relocation law firm can advise you of your rights, protect your interests in negotiations and adamantly fight for your best interest in a contested relocation proceeding. We understand the critical importance of a successful resolution to your parental relocation case and employ a persuasive presentation of the facts and effective legal research and analysis to obtain the best possible outcome in your parental relocation dispute.
The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. assist clients in all Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton in Palm Beach County. We also offer legal representation to clients who reside in Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Hendry, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.