After a divorce, a parent with whom a child lives may wish to relocate to a different city, state or country. This can happen for a number of reasons, including a new job, a new spouse or romantic partner, a desire to be closer to extended family for financial or emotional support, schooling or job training, military assignment, or health and safety needs.
Parental relocation usually calls for a modification to your parenting plan, as it seeks to change a final court order that affects where children live and whom they can visit. A modification requires demonstrating a change of circumstances and can happen in one of two ways: both parents can agree to the modification before notifying the court, or the court may order the modification on behalf of one parent.
Although each state has adopted its own laws regarding relocation, modifications are always subject to the best interests of the child or children affected and are based on the state in which the child currently resides. In general, a court will consider the following factors when determining whether or not a desired relocation is acceptable:
- Whether the parent is acting in good faith
- The likely effect the move will have on the child
- Whether the relocating parent is likely to follow parenting plan with regard to the noncustodial parent
- The child’s wishes
- Other important relationships (such as with siblings and grandparents)
- Historical abuse or reporting of abuse
- The emotional and physical needs of the child
Florida parents wishing to relocate after a divorce should consult a Pinellas County family law attorney to learn more about state laws regarding custody modifications.