Mother and son on a train

What Happens If My Former Spouse Will Not Agree to My Relocation?

Co-parenting after divorce can be filled with challenges. It can seem like a constant struggle of trying to coordinate schedules, communicate and meet the needs of the child, and to maintain an amicable relationship with your former spouse amidst all of this and more. Sometimes, you and your former spouse will reach an impasse on a matter. For instance, what happens if you want to relocate with your child, but your former spouse will not agree? The relocation might be for a new job, or to move closer to family, or just because you need a change of scenery.  Regardless of the reason, you should learn more about your options should your former spouse refuse to agree to a relocation.

If My Former Spouse Does Not Agree to My Relocation, What Should I Do?

Under Florida law, a relocation is defined as a parent moving at least 50 miles from his or her current residence for at least 60 days. If you are seeking to relocate, your former spouse and co-parent may agree to the move. Should this be the case, you and your co-parent can sign a written agreement that outlines the terms of the move as well as new custody agreements. It should be clear in the agreement that both of you agree to the relocation. It should also be clear on the time-sharing schedule for the parent who is not relocating. Additionally, the agreement should include how both of you plan on handling transportation for visitation schedules.

A relocation can obviously have a dramatic impact on a visitation schedule. When one parent moves far away, it often becomes impractical to have the same visitation schedule as when they were closer by. It makes sense, although it can be extremely frustrating, when a co-parent objects to such a move. If you and your co-parent cannot reach an agreement about the relocation, you may file a petition to relocate with the court. The petition must be served on the other parent and must include:

  • The address and phone number of the location where you wish to relocate
  • The date of relocation
  • The reason(s) for relocation
  • The proposed post-relocation visitation schedule
  • Proposed post-relocation transportation plans for visitation

The non-relocating parent has 20 days from receiving notice of the petition to file a response. If no response is filed, the court is within its authority to grant the relocation petition without even having a hearing. If the other parent does file a response, it usually includes reasons why the relocation should not be permitted, including how active the non-relocating parent is in the life of the child.

The court will rule on the petition after weighing a number of different factors. The court’s goal is to render a decision that is in the child’s best interests. Factors to be considered may include:

  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The age and needs of the child
  • The non-relocating parent’s ability to maintain the relationship with the child post-relocation
  • The preference of the child
  • The reason for the relocation
  • The reasons against the relocation 
  • Any factor relevant to the best interests of the child

Florida Family Law Attorneys

If you or a co-parent are looking to relocate, the trusted family law attorneys at Orlando Family Team are here to help you navigate this often difficult and complicated matter. Contact us today.