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What are the legal requirements for custodial parents who want to relocate?

Occasionally child custody arrangements have to be modified because the custodial parent wants to relocate with the child. Sometimes both parents agree to the move; other times they don't. Here let's go over the requirements relocating parents must satisfy under Florida law.

The parent with whom the child lives most of the time must notify the other parent before moving with the child if the following statements apply:

  • The new principal residence is more than 50 miles away from the custodial parent's current residence
  • The relocation will last for at least 60 consecutive days

If the noncustodial parent consents to the move, then both parents must provide the court with the following:

  • A written agreement showing the noncustodial parent's consent
  • Any transportation plan the parents have established to ensure visitation or parenting time for the noncustodial parent
  • Any proposed modification of the visitation schedule
  • Proof of consent from any other parties -- grandparents, for example -- who have visitation rights

Even when both parents agree to the move, court approval is needed before the relocation can take place.

If the noncustodial parent is opposed to the relocation, then the parent who wants to move must file a petition to relocate and serve the petition to the other parent. You can find a list of items that must be included in the petition here.

If the noncustodial parent answers the petition, then a court hearing will be scheduled. If the noncustodial parent fails to respond to the petition, then the court will approve the relocation unless there is reason to believe that the move is not in the child's best interests.

In any case, parents with relocation concerns should have a family law attorney on their side throughout the process of changing child custody arrangements.

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