Relocation has been THE hot topic on DIY Divorce in Florida for the past quarter. It seems like everyone wants to move and take the kids. The Relocation series I wrote last fall has generated much discussion, some of which I think deserves to be highlighted in its own post.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you want to relocate your child during or after a Florida divorce:
1. It's all about the kids and maintaining the bond with the other parent. You have to propose an alternate timesharing plan. If your alternate plan maintains the same quality of visits, your chances of being granted a relocation increase.
A parent who sees the kids several times a week is in a different situation from one who sees them several times a month. Think in terms of what your kids share during their time with the other parent and how those activities will be impacted by the move.
For example, it would be difficult to keep the same quality of visits if the other parent is close enough to come to weekly soccer games and parent night at school (and does) and the proposed move is out of state. Having contact with the kids several times each week is qualitatively different than seeing them during the summer and winter school breaks.
2. Improved conditions in the new location can sometimes be key to your child's best interest, but this will usually not be a compelling enough reason on its own. I've seen cases with special needs children where this has been a more important factor. But better conditions at the new place will usually not outweigh the relationship with the other parent, unless the other parent is not exercising the time sharing that is set out in the final judgment.
If you want to include improved conditions as one of reasons the move is in your child's best interest, compiling admissible evidence of the improved conditions is crucial.
3. Having said all that, Florida law grants much discretion to judges and magistrates, so your actual chances often come down to knowing how your judge (or magistrate) views the issues.
This is a good situation to take advantage of Florida's unbundled legal services and have a consultation with a local attorney experienced in Family law in your area. He or she can guide you in your search for evidence as well as discuss how your judge views the issues surrounding child relocation.