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Move-away child custody cases challenging for Florida judges

Family judges in Florida and other jurisdictions often agree that some of the most difficult family law cases involve situations in which one parent is looking to move away from their current geographic area. In some child custody cases, the parent seeks permission to relocate to another state -- and sometimes even another country. No matter the distance, this type of relocation almost always leads to significant change.

Courts are not required to grant parents the permission to move with their children. In some cases, the judge decides that the best interests of the child would be served by everyone just staying put; in those cases, the non-custodial parent may benefit more. However, if the court fails to grant the request, the custodial parent could be required to move anyway, which would require the other parent to become more involved in the custody process. Children are often the losers in such cases, no matter the reason for the move.

In some areas with large non-native populations, move-away cases are definitely common. In many cases, parents must seek modifications to their child custody agreement so they can move back to their home state or country, often to seek the assistance of a family support system. In other cases, parents cannot make ends meet if they do not move for professional reasons.

Parents who are considering a big move should know that several factors are considered during these child custody negotiations. The age of the child, the reason for the move and the distance of the proposed move are all considered. Courts will also weigh the ability of both parents to maintain consistency for the child, and the likelihood of effective co-parenting if the move is granted.

Ultimately, the best interests of the child should be the main focus of any custody agreement. If a move is honestly required to maintain financial solvency or permit appropriate care for the child, Florida parents may be able to find an ally in a family attorney. These professionals may provide additional information about legal options and family court strategies.

Source: The Huffington Post, "In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases" Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 12, 2014

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