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Parental relocation presents many custody challenges

When you share custody of your child with another parent, there is always the possibility that one or both of you may need or want to move to another area, possibly significantly away from your current residence. In Florida, you may not simply take a child and move away, especially depending on the distance that you wish to move and if the transition takes you across state lines.

Should you or your child's other parent wish to move more than 50 miles from you current residence, then you must either acquire the permission of the court to do so or reach a written agreement with the other parent that expressly condones the move. Even then, a written agreement by parents may still require the approval of a court after a review of the agreement's terms.

This may require you to understand a number of state laws in great detail in order to properly navigate the process or fight against it. Make it a priority to protect your family by carefully preparing for these legal complications, to keep your own rights and privileges protected.

The best interests of the child

If the move involves relocating a child, then a court generally wants to see strong evidence that the move is truly in the child's best interests. As in all custody matters, the court tends to seek out custody arrangements that meet the needs of the child before they address the preferences of a parent.

Even if you and your child's other parent do agree on a new custody arrangement in light of the potential move, it is still important to follow proper procedures and petition the court to amend the custody order to reflect these life changes. Courts do not take very kindly to parents simply ignoring a custody order and abiding by their own preferences. Taking time to secure a new custody order that includes relocation is in both the parents' and child's best interests.

If you do not agree with the relocation parent's wishes to take your child with him or her, you may have a number of opportunities to fight back against the move by objecting formally to the court. In most cases, a parent cannot simply move with a child and trust that the courts can sort it out after the fact. This often constitutes parental kidnapping, which may result in criminal charges and even jail time.

Take action to protect your rights and privileges

Whether you hope to move with a child yourself or have concerns about your child's other parent considering a move, you must take direct action as soon as possible to make sure that your rights and privileges remain secure. Use every resource that you have to address the matter effectively through the court, for your own sake and for the best interests of your child.

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