This is the next post in my series addressing unmarried parents in Melbourne, Florida who are going through a child custody dispute. My last post explained how child support is calculated in the state of Florida. In this article I will explain how a Court determines if a parent will be allowed to relocate outside of the state.
In Florida a custodial parent must seek permission from the other if they wish to move more than 50 miles from their current home. If custody has not yet been established and one parent wishes to move then the Court will decide custody at the same time as the relocation issue. If custody (known as “time share” in Florida) has already been established then the moving parent must file a Supplemental Petition with the Court requesting permission to move. This Petition must include information such as the proposed location the parent wishes to move to, the date of the move, a proposed visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent- complete with information regarding transportation and who will be responsible for covering the costs, and a notice providing instructions for the other parent to object to the Petition if they choose to do so. If the other parent fails to respond, or if the parents are able to come to a written agreement, then the move request will be granted quickly. If the noncustodial parent objects then a trial will be held to decide the matter.
At trial the Court will determine whether a it is in the child’s best interests to relocate away from the current home. A Judge will consider a number of factors including educational opportunities for the child, how the move will impact the child’s relationship with family and siblings, if the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent can be preserved, how the move will impact the child’s emotional and physical development, and for older children their personal preference. A Judge will also consider if domestic violence is a factor in the relationship or if a parent is intentionally moving away to prevent the child from having a relationship with the noncustodial parent. It is difficult for a noncustodial parent to successfully object to a move if they have failed at certain parental obligations such as paying child support on time, showing up for all visitations, or have not been involved in the child’s upbringing.
The Court will also decide issues such as child support when it rules on relocation and visitation. As a family law attorney I am able to help with such issues. Contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne child custody lawyer. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.