Can My Former Spouse Move Away With the Children?
Relocation can be a significant source of conflict for separated parents who have young children together. You may be wondering: Does my spouse have the right to move away with our child? The answer is that it depends entirely on the specific circumstances of your case. That being said, in certain situations, custodial parents are required to get consent or court approval before moving. Here, our divorce attorneys based in Coral Springs and Boca Raton explain the most important things that parents need to know about Florida’s child relocation laws.
Florida Child Custody Law: The 50 Mile Rule Explained
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.13001), custodial parents who have shared legal custody or who have a time sharing agreement in place are prevented from “relocating” without first obtaining consent in an agreement or court approval.
To be clear, “moving” is not quite the same as “relocating”. For the purposes of this statute, the term “relocation” is defined as moving at least 50 miles away for at least 60 consecutive days. This is why Florida’s parental relocation law is sometimes referred to as the ‘50 mile rule’.
A parent with primary physical custody generally has the right to move to another neighborhood or to the next town over, but they are not allowed to unilaterally move to the other side of the state or across the country. If the proposed move is more than 50 miles, consent or court approval may be required.
Understanding the Requirements: Agreement or Court Approval
If a Florida parent with shared custody or time sharing agreement in place wants to move more than 50 miles away with their child, they can do so if they obtain a legally valid agreement with the other parent. In order to be valid, the relocation agreement must contain the following three elements:
- An acknowledgment of consent to the proposed relocation from the other parent;
- A revised time-sharing schedule that is workable for the non-relocating parent; and
- A transportation plan that allows the non-relocating parent to get time with their child.
If a parent with shared custody/time sharing is unable to obtain a consent agreement for the child relocation, then they must petition the court to approve the move. To start, Florida law requires the parent seeking relocation to notify the other party. From there, they must make a petition to the court. In their petition, this parent will have the burden of establishing that the relocation is in the best interests of the child. If they fail to do so, the court can block the relocation.
Discuss Your Case With Our Divorce Lawyers Today
At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our Florida divorce attorneys are compassionate, effective advocates for clients. If your spouse is attempting to relocate your children, we can help protect your parental rights. To schedule a confidential initial consultation, please contact our legal team right away. We have offices in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, we serve clients throughout South Florida, including in Palm Beach County and Broward County.