Divorce can be difficult for an individual for a variety of reasons. For some, the financial uncertainty that accompanies marriage dissolution can be stressful, but for others the effect of a divorce on their children is paramount. This is why Floridians put forth a lot of time and effort into securing child custody and visitation arrangements that they believe further their children's best interests. Yet, even once an agreement is reached or a judge issues a custody order, the matter can pop back up at any time, potentially leading to conflict.
One situation where this often arises is when a custodial parent seeks to relocate with the child. If the parties agree to this relocation, then there isn't much of an issue. However, if a noncustodial parent challenges the move, then the custodial parent carries the burden of showing that parental relocation is in support of the child's best interests.
Here, there are many factors that a court may consider. The child's relationship with each parent is critical, as is the effect that the move will have on the child's educational and emotional development. The older a child is the more input he or she will have on the move. A court may also consider whether the relocation will improve the child's quality of life and how it will affect a parent's ability to secure better career prospects. Any history of substance abuse or domestic violence by either parent may also play a role in a court's determination.
A custodial parent's move can have enormous consequences. Some of them are positive, but some of them can be negative, especially when it threatens the relationship between a child who is well-bonded to his or her noncustodial parent. This is to say that these matters are not black-and-white, which means that they are ripe for legal argument. Therefore, those who are dealing with parental relocation may want to consider discussing the matter with a qualified family law attorney.