Moving for a New Spouse’s Job After a Divorce
So, you are divorced and have children by your ex-spouse; however, you have recently begun dating someone or re-married, and that new partner has an incredible job opportunity across the country in another state. What do you do? You know the new opportunity could change life for you and your children forever, but it would mean the kids not seeing your ex nearly as much. Can you up and move? If you move without permission, what is the harm? How do you convince your ex it is the right thing for the kids?
These are among some of the more common questions people ask when trying to relocate after a Florida divorce. The old saying goes, “Better to ask forgiveness than permission,” but in divorce court, this is absolutely terrible advice. In truth, you will probably need to get court permission to relocate. An experienced south Florida divorce lawyer might be able to help, but it is not going to be easy. Here is what you need to know.
Relocation is Governed by Statute in Florida
Under Florida law, there is a statute known as the relocation statute. It can be found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Section 61.13001. The law says that there are basically just two ways to relocate: (a) by agreement or (b) by leave of court. Relocation is clearly defined as any attempt to move the minor children for more than 60 days to a new permanent residence that is at least 50 miles or more away from the principal place of residence at the time of the last court order.
Is it Hard to Relocate With Children?
Yes. The court is going to consider a number of factors when determining if it is good for the children to move. First, the court is less concerned about you and your new spouse or partner. The judge is not really interested in how much money you will make or how nice your new home might be. The judge is far more interested in how the move might affect a child’s relationship with the other parent, friends, and extended family, and whether the change is necessarily a positive choice for the child’s overall well-being.
Generally, courts look at the best interests of the children. These are outlined in the statute. The court will consider things like:
- The child’s preferences
- How the change of residence will impact the non-relocating parent’s relationship with the child
- Whether relocation is sought in good faith or in order to reduce the other parent’s time
- The age of the child
- Whether the move will impact relationships with grandparents and other extended family
- Any other consideration the court finds important
As you can probably tell, relocation should not be taken lightly. If you are considering doing it without court permission, you should be aware that a court can consider that conduct later when hearing the non-relocating parent’s arguments for return of sole custody. Many courts see unpermitted relocation as a parent’s deliberate attempt to alienate the child from the other parent, and courts are likely to enter harsh orders restricting the relocating parent’s options.
If you need help moving after a divorce with kids, call the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC today to speak with an experienced family law attorney now.