Considering a Move After Divorce in Florida? Here’s What You Need to Know



Going through a divorce is tough enough, but what happens if you need to relocate for a fresh start? If you have children, moving can become even more complex. It’s not as easy as calling a moving van and just going. But by understanding the rules and having competent legal representation guide you, it really doesn’t have to be that difficult.

What is Considered Relocation?

In Florida, relocation refers to a parent (or anyone with parental rights) moving the child’s primary residence more than 50 miles away for at least 60 consecutive days. Temporary absences for vacations, education, or healthcare don’t count as relocation.

The Importance of Agreements

The smoothest path to relocation involves an agreement between both parents. This written agreement should include:

  • Consent to the move by both parties
  • A new time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent
  • Transportation arrangements for the child

If an agreement isn’t possible,

If reaching an agreement proves difficult, the parent seeking relocation can petition the court. This petition should include:

  • The new address and phone number
  • Intended relocation date
  • Detailed reason for the move (including a job offer, if applicable)
  • Proposed new time-sharing plan

The Court’s Decision

The court will then consider various factors, including:

  • The existing relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent
  • The impact of the move on the child
  • The ability of the non-relocating parent to maintain a relationship with the child
  • The child’s preference (considering age and maturity)
  • Potential improvements to the child’s quality of life (including the relocating parent’s employment and economic situation, the child’s unique needs, etc.)

Married vs. Unmarried: Is There a Difference When It Comes to Relocation?

Unmarried Parents:

  • If there is no established paternity (father not listed on the birth certificate or paternity not established in court), the mother, as the sole legal custodian, can generally relocate with the child without court permission.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as:

  • If the father has a significant relationship with the child and objects to the move,
  • If the move would significantly harm the child’s well-being,.

If paternity is established* (through a court order or being listed on the birth certificate), the same rules as married parents apply. If the move disrupts the existing parenting plan, the relocating parent would need court approval.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Even if a court order isn’t required for unmarried parents, it’s still recommended to have a written agreement outlining the new parenting plan after the move, especially if the father has a substantial relationship with the child.

The Importance of Legal Guidance

Moving without an agreement or court approval can lead to severe consequences, including court orders forcing the child’s return and potential sanctions. An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the relocation process and fight for the best outcome for your child.

Why Choose Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti?

For 40 years, our experienced divorce attorneys have guided thousands, of families through the challenge of divorce. Our family attorneys have the experience, expertise, and compassion that are necessary to provide our clients with the outcome they are looking for.

Hear from a Satisfied Client:

“Dan Kent and Martin Hoffman are both incredible lawyers. They were incredibly responsive and helped me achieve the outcome I wanted for my custody and domestic violence cases. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for any family law needs.” Yenisbel H., 2022

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