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What to Know Before Moving to a Different State After Divorce


You are going through a divorce and you are thinking about moving closer to family. Or maybe you got an amazing job offer across the country.  The problem is that you have to move out of state. While there are no state laws that specifically say that you yourself cannot move to a different state, there are laws regarding relocating children. Therefore, such a move could be problematic if you have kids. It could be difficult to come up with a child custody arrangement when you don’t live near the other parent.

Therefore, there are several things to keep in mind when considering such a big move. Is it in the best interest of the children? What does your state allow?

Under Florida Statutes Section 61.13001, relocation is defined as a parent moving 50 miles or more from the current residence for 60 days or more. If one parent decides to relocate, both parents can come to an agreement without having to attend a court hearing. This is done by signing a written agreement that:

  • Shows that both parents agree to the relocation.
  • Includes a time-sharing schedule for the parent who is not relocating.
  • Shows how the parents will transport the child back and forth for visitation periods.

If both parents cannot agree on the above stipulations, then they must go to court and get the judge’s approval before relocating. The court may not agree with the move and may have some rules in place. For example, you may not be able to move more than a specific number of miles away. You may have to stay within the same city or county or be limited to a 25-mile radius. Also, visitation could change. If you do decide to move, you may not get visitation on a regular basis, since it would be inconvenient. The court could also decide to grant the other parent sole custody, since having to take the child back and forth across state lines on a regular basis could prove stressful to the child. It would not be in the child’s best interest.

If you do decide to move without the court’s permission, don’t bring the children with you. Otherwise, you could be charged with contempt of court and even kidnapping. While you may not want to lose out on a job opportunity or you may not be able to survive without support from family members who live in another state, just know that you may not be able to bring your children with you. Therefore, you may need to decide what’s more important to you: moving to another state or parenting your child.

Seek Legal Help

You may want a fresh start after a divorce, but you may be limited in where you can move, especially if there are children involved. Make sure you understand the laws and limitations for your specific situation.

Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you understand how a move out of state can affect child custody and other aspects of your divorce.  Schedule a consultation to learn more. Call our office at 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.


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