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Child custody relocation rules and considerations

It's not unusual for former spouses who share parenting responsibilities to weigh their options with child custody relocation in Florida. In some situations, a move will allow convenient access to extended family members or make it easier to maintain a visitation schedule. Whether a change of address is being considered for economic reasons or as part of an effort to remain more involved a child's life, there are certain rules parents need to follow when a relocation takes place.

Because a court typically assumes relocation is probably not in the best interests of the child, it's often advised that the custodial parent work with legal representation when preparing to ask the court for permission to relocate. Representation can be just as beneficial for a non-custodial parent who is arguing against relocation. There are many factors that the court is likely to consider, starting with how much advance notice a relocated parent gave the other parent. Courts tend to look unfavorably upon parents who purposely withhold plans to move away from a noncustodial parent.

When making a decision, a court usually considers details such as the age and maturity of the child, the total distance between the old and new home, and how a child's quality of life may be impacted. For instance, a relocating parent may be asked about potential schools in the new location. It can be equally helpful for a relocating parent to consider how convenient their new home will be for the non-custodial parent. One possible solution is to allow the non-relocating parent extended visits or vacations with the child.

A family law attorney can work with either a custodial or non-custodial parent to request relocation or argue against it. If there is concern that relocation plans may make it difficult or impossible for a non-relocating parent to see their child, a lawyer could discuss child custody litigation options with a client.

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