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Visitation and custody when a parent moves

In last week's post, we discussed how parents who don't live in the same area as their children might use virtual visitation to continue to be a part of a child's life. That post brings up the point of what happens when a custodial parent decides to move with the child. If the move is local, it likely isn't a big deal. If the move is more than 50 miles away, there might be an issue. We understand both sides of the move and work with a parent no matter which side of the issue they are on.

In Florida, there are at least 30 factors that courts consider when it comes to a parent relocating with a child. The factors in F.S. 61.13001(7) are all used to determine what is in the child's best interests. Under the statute, a hearing has to be held within 30 days of filing and service of the Petition for Paternal Relocation with Minor Child. Additionally, the court has 90 days to set the cause for final hearing after the request for a final hearing is done formally.

With just that basic information, it is fairly easy for parents to understand why they need to have someone knowledgeable on their side. When you start delving into the factors the court considers, it becomes even more apparent.

The court will look at the career opportunities for the parent who is moving, the reason for the move and if it is good faith, the history of the relationship between the child and parents, the ability of the child to keep those relationships if the move occurs, the child's preference and several other factors. For the parent on either side of the petition, it is important to consider the child's best interest because that is what the court will ultimately try to decide.

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