Moving After Divorce
Can You Move After Getting Divorced in Florida?
If you have children who still live in your house, moving after a divorce can present some unique challenges. While there is a desire to start fresh in a new place, this may not be in your child’s best interest or even possible due to child custody regulations.
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act regulates which state has jurisdiction over custody issues if a child moves and in addition, each state has their own individual child custody laws as well. In general, you have to prove that a move would benefit your child more so than staying in his or her hometown/home state.
Here is how it works in the state of Florida:
“In Florida, a custodial parent who wants to move with the child more than 50 miles away, for any period longer than 60 days, must notify the other parent before moving. If the noncustodial parent agrees to the move, the parents must file a written agreement with the court. If the parents can’t agree, the judge will hold a hearing and decide whether to allow the move. If the court views the move as negatively impacting the children or their relationship with the other parent, the judge may not approve the relocation,” Divorce.net.
We have seen cases where the ex spouse fully supports the move, knowing that their child will benefit from the relocation. But in a case where both parents can’t agree, there is a burden of proof to convince the court that your child will benefit from the move.
A court will look at the parent/child relationship taking into consideration how involved and present both parents are in raising their child. You must prove at the relocation hearing that there is a strong reason for this move that will enhance your child’s upbringing. That could be an income raise with the relocation or a support system of extended family.
Having a clear plan for visitations and communication with the parent left behind is crucial and will help your case. Plan out summer visits, holidays, Skyping times, etc. with a clear organization of how you will support your child’s relationship with your ex.
Saying you want to escape and hang out at the beach is not going to be enough in a relocation hearing. Be prepared and also be patient. A study by the Journal of Family Psychology found that children are harmed when a divorced parent moves more than an hour away, and yet it is estimated that 17 to 25% of custodial parents move out of the area within the first two years after a divorce.
Children crave stability, and the divorce has typically already complicated their sense of security. When considering a move, look at it from all angles — including your emotional state. Try not to rush into anything because your sense of security has also shifted. Clear thinking is important and will bring more peace to yourself and your child.