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Can I Just Move Away From Here With My Kids?

When a relationship ends and there are children involved, there is quite frequently an urge to take the children and move away from the other parent. This happens in both Florida divorce and Florida paternity cases. Until recently, there weren't very specific rules telling you what exactly you should do in those situations.

In October of 2007, the legislature made effective a law that deals with this situation very specifically. It is called the Florida Relocation Statute. The idea is that you are trying to "relocate" the residence of the children to a place farther away from the other parent. If you are not aware of the law and do not follow its specific requirements, you could find yourself losing custody of your children or at least spending a lot of money needlessly on attorneys and perhaps reducing your rights to have the children as much as you do.

The law applies to situations where one parent wants to move the residence of the child more than 50 miles away from where the child lived at the time of the existing Florida child custody order. It requires that, before the move, the moving parent give the other parent thirty days written notice by certified mail (or through a process server) of the intent to move. The move will be allowed if the other parent does not object in writing and file the objection in court within thirty days.

The court can hold it against the parent seeking permission to move if that parent moves without following the proper procedure. Some of the things the court is then allowed to do are: use the failure to give notice in the determination of whether to ultimately allow the move, change the parenting plan to give the moving parent less time with the children, order the return of the children, order the moving parent to pay attorney's fees, costs and travel expenses of the other parent.

A specialist in Florida child custody law can guide you through the process of following these very detailed rules of moving your child.

Bottom Line: There can be a huge price to pay for failing to give the proper notice that you intend to move your child far away from the other parent.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)

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