Can I Relocate With My Child?

As family law attorneys who handle both divorce and custody matters, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive is whether or not the custodial parent has the right to relocate with their child. The answer to this question is not as easy as “yes” or “no.” When a custodial parent in Orlando wants to relocate with their child, we always recommend that they speak with us first. We understand the complexities of the relocation statute and how it applies to various situations.

Before the question of relocation can be answered, the Florida Relocation Statute must be closely looked at, along with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and any binding court orders. It is never a good idea to pick up and move with your child, assuming you can do so because you have legal custody, without first consulting your attorney. There are serious consequences for violating custody agreements and laws.

There are two ways in which a parent with custody of a child can relocate with that child:

1. Upon Agreement

If both parents agree to the relocation, it may take place. The agreement must be in writing, and it must contain the proper and appropriate wording. The agreement should be approved by a court before the relocation takes place.

2. Court Order

When the parents don’t agree on the relocation, the custodial parent may petition the court. It is a complex legal process that requires experienced legal representation.

When a parent relocates a child without pursuing one of these two avenues, they are subject to contempt proceedings among other legal actions. In fact, a parent who chooses to move with their child outside of legal channels may lose custody of their child. In some cases, the parent may be charged with a crime.

There are several reasons why a custodial parent may want to relocate with a child. The custodial parent may get remarried, may find new employment or may desire to be closer to their own family. All of these reasons are valid, but none may be enough for a judge to grant permission for the move. This is why it’s so important to seek the advice of expert legal counsel.

This isn’t to say that the custodial parent cannot move. It is not considered a relocation if the person is moving within the state of Florida and within 50 miles of their current residence. A person is not forced to stay in their current home because they have been granted custody of their child.

If you are in need of assistance with child custody matters in Orlando or the surrounding area, we are here to assist you. As experienced family law attorneys, we are well-versed in the nuances of the laws that dictate how and where a parent may relocate with their child. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Your first consultation will be held at no cost to you.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.