Can I Move If I Share Joint Custody?

Sharing custody of your children can be very challenging, even if you have managed to maintain an amicable relationship with your co-parent. One of the biggest challenges can be having to take into account the rights of your co-parent when you are making big life decisions that affect your children. For instance, what happens if you are looking to move away for something like a job? How does that happen if you share joint custody?

What should I do if I’m moving and share joint custody?

In Florida, a parent with custody who is looking to move a child more than 50 miles away for longer than 60 days must not only inform the other parent but also obtain the consent of the other parent. If the other parent consents, then a written agreement memorializing this can be filed with the court. The agreement must include the noncustodial parent’s approval of the relocation. It must also include any changes to the visitation schedule that must be made. Additionally, the agreement must make a record of any transportation the parents have secured for purposes of visitation. Anyone else with visitation rights, such as a grandparent, must also give consent to the move.

If the other parent does not agree to the move, things get complicated. A court order must be obtained approving the move even if the other parent does not consent. This means you must file a petition with the court stating:

  • The reason for the move
  • The address, mailing address, and phone number specific to the location of the move
  • A proposal for visitation
  • Parenting schedule for after the move
  • Notice informing the non-custodial parent how to object to the petition

If the non-custodial parent does not respond to the petition, the judge will usually allow the move if it is in the best interest of the child. If the non-custodial parent does respond, then the case will go to hearing or trial. The judge will render a decision based on the best interest of the child standard. To do this, the judge will weigh factors such as:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The age and current physical and developmental needs of the child
  • The ability to maintain parent and family relationships after the move
  • The preference of the child
  • Costs and logistics associated with maintaining visitation with the non-relocating parent and the child
  • Why the desire or need to relocate
  • Why the non-relocating parent is objecting to the relocation
  • Any other factor relevant to determining what is in the best interest of the child

Do not attempt to move with a child without complying with the required procedures. You may be subject to contempt and other proceedings found necessary to compel the return of the child. Additionally, absconding with your child may be taken into account by the court in subsequent proceedings relating to the parenting plan or time-sharing schedule.

Florida Child Custody Attorneys

If you are looking to relocate, but share joint custody of your child, and your co-parent is objecting to the move, you need to be prepared. The attorneys at the Orlando Family Team are dedicated to helping our clients and their families. We will provide you with trusted legal counsel and fight for your best interests and that of your family every step of the way. Contact us today.