After a divorce, it is normal to want to move far away from your ex. If you are leaving your home, you may want to relocate to another county – or even another state.
Unfortunately, the divorce process can take many months, and having shared assets or children can make the process very complicated. What are your options? Can you move during divorce proceedings? Can you take your children?
Leaving the State If You Do Not Have Children…
After Filing for Divorce. Divorce and family law issues are handled by the state, and one state must have jurisdiction over both spouses before decisions can be made by a judge. Jurisdiction is determined by residency. If you meet residency requirements in the state that you have been living in and file for divorce, that state’s court has jurisdiction over the case, but you can move wherever you please.
Before Filing for Divorce. If you want to file for divorce in a new location, you will have to look up their residency requirements. Some areas require individuals to live in the area continuously for one month, two months, three months, etc. Whatever they happen to be, you will have to comply with residency requirements before you petition for divorce.
Leaving the State If You Have Children…
If you are in the process of divorce and you have children, you will have to be very careful and fill out the proper paperwork before moving out of the state. A vacation or trip that lasts less than 60 days is okay, but any relocation longer than two months will have to be approved by the court.
When Both Parents Agree on the Move. The easiest way to relocate is to get a parenting plan signed and turned in by both parents. This plan must include the terms for caring for the children, the approval of the relocation from both parents, and a clear plan for how the children will be transported between both residences. If both parents can agree, relocation can happen without even stepping into a formal hearing.
When One Parent Does Not Agree with the Move. Say your ex doesn’t want you to relocate. What happens next?
Similar to a petition for divorce, individuals will need to file a petition for relocation. The petition will include proposed ideas for a parenting plan, as well as information about where the individual plans to relocate, when they plan to relocate, and why they plan to relocate. The reason for relocation is very important. Parents have been decided the request to relocate because the court did not think the reason was serious enough. Florida’s first priority is keeping the best interests of the child in mind, which is why joint custody is typically awarded.
After the petition is filed, the other parent has 20 days to respond. Without a response, the court may approve the request without a formal hearing. If the non-relocating parent does not approve, they have to list reasons why, and the issue may be taken to court.
If you relocate without getting court approval, you may be charged with contempt of court. Relocation, and complying with other divorce rulings, is not something to take lightly. Before you make any big moves or try to take divorce matters into your own hands, consult with a Florida family lawyer.