We cannot necessarily plan for everything life throws at us and sometimes an unexpected move due to a new job, new relationship, or other life-change is a decision that comes about rather quickly. A decision to move becomes even more complicated if you have kids that you raise according to a Court-approved parenting plan as a result of a divorce or paternity action. Depending on the specifics of your move, or relocation, Court approval (and therefore the assistance of an attorney) may be needed. If court approval is required, you may need to petition for relocation in Florida. For help determining if you need to petition for relocation in Florida contact a child custody attorney in Tampa for assistance.
Petition for Relocation in Florida & Long Distance Parenting Plan
You can petition for relocation in Florida and ask the court for a long-distance parenting plan should you wish to move (and move your children) more than fifty miles from the children’s principal place of residence. The principal place of residence would have been established in the initial parenting plan and is most likely either the child’s mother’s home or the child’s father’s home, depending on the parent that has the majority of the time-sharing responsibilities according to the original parenting plan. If you have not yet finalized your initial parenting plan that will be a part of an ongoing divorce or child custody you can petition the court to approve your petition for relocation in Florida as part of the case.
If you already have an established parenting plan, you’ll want to file a petition for relocation in Florida as soon as you are able. A child custody attorney can assist with filing the documents on your behalf and scheduling the appropriate court hearings to finalize the process as quickly as possible. You are not required to hire a child custody attorney but it is highly recommended to do so.
If you and the other parent are in agreement about the relocation, you may need to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate. The Notice informs the court that you will be moving outside of the fifty-mile radius discussed above, but does not allow for arguments for or against the relocation. Therefore, this filling is only appropriate when both parents are in agreement about the relocation. See Florida Child Custody Relocation Statute 61.13001.
What to Include in a Petition for Relocation in Florida
Should you not be in agreement (in other words, your ex is fighting the relocation,) you should file a petition with the court asking for the Court to approve the petition for relocation in Florida. Your petition for relocation in Florida should include various details about the relocation including the date of the move; where you are moving to; why you are moving and any documentation necessary to prove this (if it is for a sick relative – medical bills, if it is for a job – a copy of the job offer, etc.); your proposed changes to the parenting plan including how you plan to make visitation an option considering the distance; and formal notice. For more information on formal notice requirements click here.
Once the other parent has had a chance to formally respond to your petition for relocation in Florida, the court will likely hold a hearing on the issue. The court will make its decision on a number of factors that will help the court decide what is in the best interest of the child/ren. See Florida child custody case Mize v. Mize. Relocation can be a difficult issue and it is important to speak with a qualified child custody lawyer before instituting any action that could change your custodial rights, especially any action that results in a hearing.
Petition for Relocation in Florida Don’t Use Self-Help
One of the most important aspects of relocation is to try to not resort to “self-help.” Self-help refers to taking actions outside of the approval of the courts, figuring, “I’ll deal with that part later,” or “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” Moving outside of the fifty-mile radius without first obtaining court approval is a violation of the parenting plan that can result in changes to your rights and responsibilities as a parent. All of family law is inter-connected: a parenting plan affects time-sharing, time-sharing affects child support payments, and so on and so forth.
Likely a move of this nature would additionally affect your ex’s visitation rights, which could put you in further violation of the parenting plan. Here are a few of the consequences you may find yourself subject to if you resort to self-help rather than going through the proper channels: you could be responsible for your ex’s attorney’s fees, you may need to take a parenting class, you may need to forfeit some of your time with the child/ren in order to compensate for the time your ex lost, or other legal action the court sees fit to punish your violation. Similarly, if your ex relocates without telling you or following the steps outlined above, you should call an experienced child custody attorney to help remedy the situation rather than trying to handle it yourself without Court intervention.
Tampa Child Custody Law Firm
If you need to relocate and modify your parenting plan call us today to speak with a child custody lawyer at Florida Law Advisers. Whether the parents mutually agree to the terms of custody or are engaged in a fierce battle for their child custody rights, we can help. Our team of experienced child custody and divorce lawyers are committed to providing top notch legal representation at a reasonable cost. If you need legal counsel call us today, we are available to answer your call 24/7.