Issues facing those seeking to relocate children in Florida

Those wishing to move dependent children to Florida might face some obstacles from the state's legal regulations on child custody. This is often true even when the individuals in question are related to the child. Understanding the rules might help prepare would-be custodians for the process ahead. 

Many Florida custody laws are written with the intent to provide a healthy and stable atmosphere for children, a goal which may be subverted by constant moves. As such, the court places several safeguards against excessive or frivolous changes in primary residence. Formalized relocations are also set in place to preserve the visitation and custody agreements set forth by the court after divorces. The Florida Statutes provide that either all parties may agree to the relocation, or a petition may be entered with an option for the opposing parties to formally contest. 

Florida law complicates matters exponentially the more distant the relationship between the prospective guardian and the child. However, the bid for custody may be more successful if the immediate family member— for example a grandparent, stepparent, first cousin or great-grandparent— has cared for the child for a significant amount of time. In these cases, according to the Florida Statutes, the relative may petition the court to obtain temporary or concurrent custody status.

Temporary and concurrent custody laws are often of the most benefit to extended family members in need of a more official status, such as is necessary to request medical records, access educational documents and obtain official identity information. In other situations where custody might not be an option, there remain avenues by which prospective caretakers might relocate and obtain custody of children. 

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Beverly L. Brennan, P.A.
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