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Can one parent choose to leave Florida with their children?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2023 | Time-Sharing

Many people have heard stories of vindictive parents who intentionally try to cut someone else out of the lives of their shared children and would like to avoid such scenarios for their own families. One of the ways a vindictive parent might achieve that goal is by moving out of Florida or across the state to make shared parenting time more of a challenge.

Yet, it is not legal for one parent to simply uproot children and move them far away from their neighborhood and existing support network if that parent is subject to a time-sharing and or shared custody order. Any major parenting changes typically require the consent of both adults (or one parent and the courts, in the event of a litigated concern).

Taking proper steps in the event of a relocation request

The parent proposing a move will need to provide written advanced notice to the other parent asking to allow the relocation. If the other parent does not agree to the move, then they may need to take the matter to family court. The courts will review a relocation request depending on the necessity of the move and the impact it would likely have on the children. A judge could rule in many different ways. They might approve the move but not allow the children to go. They might agree that the children should move with the parent relocating.

However a judge decides, relocation requests often result in a significant modification of the existing custody order. It is still feasible to maintain a relatively even split of parenting time even after one parent moves out of Florida by allowing the other to see the children for any extended breaks from school.

A parent worried that a relocation would harm their relationship with the children could present evidence to the courts that the request comes from a place of spite and that the separation would not be in the best interests of the children. Prior text messages between the parents, such as threats about eliminating one parent’s time with the children, could potentially help demonstrate the true motivation behind a relocation request, for example.

Parents who develop their custody strategies by focusing on the best interests of the children are more likely to achieve a favorable outcome than those prioritizing their own desires and perceived rights. Seeking legal guidance when a relocation concern arises can help parents to craft their approaches/responses in these ways accordingly.