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Generally speaking, whether you can relocate (and how far you can go) are dictated by statute or often times by the custody agreement in effect. In Florida, statutory guidelines provide that you can move up to 50 miles away without a court order, though your custody agreement may provide for more or less distance.
In Florida, a custodial parent wishing to relocate provide written notice to the non-custodial parent of intent to relocate, signed under oath under penalty of perjury and including: - Description of the new intended address, if known; - Mailing address of the new location, if known; - Home telephone number, of the new address, if know; - Date of the intended move; - Detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a written job offer, the written offer must be attached to the notice; - A proposed revised schedule of visitation, including transportation arrangements; and notice that the non-custodial parent must file an objection to the proposed relocation with the court within 30 days after service of the notice of intent to relocate or objections are waived.
Assuming the other parent does not agree to the relocation, you will have to petition the court for a modification of the custody/visitation agreement. There are numerous factors that a court will look at when deciding whether to grant the petition, always trying to do what is in the "best interest" of the children. These factors may include the ages of the children, the impact of the relocation on the child's emotional and physical as well as educational well-being, the children's preference (taking into account their age and maturity), the reason for the requested relocation, whether the non-custodial parent has fulfilled all financial obligations to the custodial parent, and whether or not a good relationship can still be fostered with the non-custodial parent given the relocation.
While this is something you can do on your own, (you can get the proper forms from the family court division of the Clerk of Court) you may feel more comfortable if you first consult with a family law attorney about the matter. Often times, you can get a low cost or free consultation.
Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.
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I apologize for the delay in accepting your response as I have not had access to my computer. I had another quesion, given the following information, what are my chances of being granted permission to move out of state?
-ex opted out of more time with kids in divorce agreement.
-seee kids Friday 6pm-Sunday 6pm every other weekend.
-lives 5 minutes away yet never contacts kids nor sees them if it is not his weekend.
-does not take part in regular parenting duties
My reasons for moving are:
-kids and I are terribly unhappy since we moved here 5 years ago
-KIDS and I desperately want to move
-I have been at-home mom with them their whole lives
-kids and I have an extremely close relationship
-They are all doing excellent in school
-they do not have close relationship with their dad
-they will be closer to grandparents they dearly miss (ex's parents)
-we have no relatives here
Thank you for your reply. Don't apologize for the delay, I'm just glad you got back to me and I could assist you further. I'll break down for you the arguments that I think work for you and against you. Ulitmately, remember that a judge will always do what he or she feels is in the "best interest" of the children; so, you may present a great argument, but a judge may not always agree. Still, I think you do have some good arguments to relocate, especially your ex husband's lack of parental support and the opportunity to be near relatives.
What works in your favor:-Your ex opted out of spending more time with his kids in the original divorce agreement, and spends only the minimal amount of time with him that he has to. Moving away may not therefore affect him as much, because a different visitation schedule can still be worked out.
-He does not take interest in his children outside of visitation. Again, if he was so interested in spending time with them, why doesn't he, when he lives so close by?
-No interest in parenting duties. Not a concerned parent.
-Children do not have a close relationship with their father (likely as a result of all of the above), so seeing them less will not have a detrimental impact provided regular visitation can still be established.
-Children are doing well in school, so should be able to easily adapt and do well in a new school
-You will be close to relatives, something you don't have now. Family support is a very good thing in the eyes of a judge.
-Kids want to move. The judge may ask the older two for their opinions about moving, how they feel, etc.
What works against you:
-Your ex exercises his regular visitation schedule. Even if he doesn't do more than that, his attorney will argue that he will be denied that regular contact if you move. I'd counter with items 1-3 above, that he could have had more visitation, more contact, but he doesn't take advantage.
-Kids are doing well in school here and likely have friendships established. Moving is hard on children, and there is no guarantee they will do just as well in school in a new area or make friends as easily.
- Job opportunities in new area? You don't mention whether you have a job or job prospect where you want to move, but if you have the chance to get a career or a better career by moving, this could go a long way towards working in your favor.
Hope this helps.
Unfortunately, we're prohibited on this site from referring anyone -so even though I do, I can't say. But, I would advise you to research some family law attorneys on sites like http://www.martindale.com/ or http://www.lawyers.com/. You can even do a Google search for "Family law attorney Tampa, FL" and you'll get links to attorney websites within the area.
You could also try contacting the Florida Bar's Attorney Referral Program. Basically, you tell them the kind of issue you're having, and they make a recommendation for an attorney and you pay around $50 or less for a half hour consultation. The number for the referral program is 1800-342-8011 or you can use the online referral here.
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