Tampa Family Law Attorney, Time-Sharing & Moving With The Kids
Many times divorced parents with children are suddenly confronted with the prospect of relocating from the Tampa Bay area. Perhaps it is due to a job offer or career advancement. Frequently, relocating may simply be one parent’s opportunity for an improved lifestyle, such as better schools, less crime or to be closer to family.
Any parent who is moving 50 miles or greater from their current residence on a permanent basis must ask permission from the courts before doing so or obtain the other parent’s permission. Any parent is free to relocate anywhere without permission if their move is less than 50 miles. You should however, abide by your final divorce agreement and/or file a notice of change of address with the courts at the very least. If in doubt, it is highly recommended that you consult with a Tampa Family Law Attorney who can answer your questions about parental relocation.
Who Decides if You Can Relocate?
In Florida, a judge does not have to decide whether parental relocation will be permitted if parents mutually agree to the terms of the relocation contract. A family law lawyer can prepare a contract between the parties. At a minimum, the parental relocation contract should include a parenting plan along with transportation arrangements. Both parties can negotiate, agree and consent to a variety of terms that apply to the relocation of the children. Once in agreement, both parties will sign the contract and present it to the courts. It is not necessary to attend a hearing in this case. You will need to ask the courts to consider approving your request without a hearing.
Non-Relocating Parent Objects to Relocating the Children
The process for relocation if parents are not in agreement, is as follows:
- The parent who wishes to relocate will petition the courts.
- The non relocating parent will have 20 days to file an answer to the motion.
- If the parent does not respond, the court could grant relocation without a hearing.
- If the non relocating party answers the petition, a hearing will be set to consider the requests to relocate.
Courts Considerations Before Ruling on Relocating the Children
There are a number of factors the courts will consider prior to a ruling on relocation:
- The best interest of the children is always at the forefront
- Is the move for reasonable and good faith reasons
- Will determine if the move is to prevent the fostering of a relationship between the non relocating parent and children
- The courts will look at the relationship of the child or children and the parent who is not relocating
- Parents reasons for relocation and and reasons against it
- The age and needs of the children
- Better schools and schools for children with special needs
- Feasibility of preserving a relationship between non relocating parent and children
- The child’s preference
- Whether the relocation will improve the lives of the parent and child or children
- If the non relocating parent has abided by child support orders or other final orders of the divorce if parents were married
- If either parent has a history of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse or domestic violence
- If relocating parent has abided by time sharing and parenting plans
These are a few things the courts may consider. There are also other factors that could be relevant to your case.
If you are serious about filing a petition to relocate with your children and require representation by a skilled and experienced Tampa Family Law Attorney, please reach out to Nilo J. Sanchez & Associates. Our Tampa Family Law Firm has been representing clients for over two decades in parental relocation, child custody, time-sharing and child support cases. Please click here to view our law firm’s practice areas or, to request a consultation with Attorney Sanchez, call: (813) 879-4600