Perhaps no other area of family law is more emotionally charged and difficult to deal with than the issue of relocation with the children after a divorce. When negotiating timesharing, a compromise can be struck for a little more time or a little less time without much difficulty. When a parent with whom the children primarily reside relocates to another state, it makes frequent contact with the children impossible.
Relocation is defined as being in excess of fifty miles, so even relocating within Florida can cause difficulties. Our laws outline a very strict procedure that requires the relocating parent to follow certain mandatory procedures. A written agreement and a court order are required. If proper procedures are not followed, the court could issue an injunction requiring a spouse’s return. Court orders in this area are enforced by the court’s contempt powers. There are even laws that deal with parental kidnapping.
The circumstances where relocation issues arise are varied. Sometimes a parent will seek relocation out of spite, particularly if the divorce was highly contested. Sometimes circumstances arise years after the divorce. One of the parents may re-marry and their new spouse is transferred to another city. If relocation is denied, that parent is placed in the very difficult position of not relocating and thereby abandoning their new spouse, of relocating without his or her children (perhaps not a true choice), or of demanding that their new spouse turn down the transfer. Frequently, the transfer is a promotion. Sometimes, turning it down leads to job loss, placing great stress on the new marriage not only emotionally, but also financially. Only an experienced family law attorney will be able to give you proper advice on how best deal with issues of this sort.
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