It is a situation that nearly every working individual will be faced with at some point in their adult lives. Some people may only have to make the decision once. Others may have to make the decision numerous times. Whatever the case may be, most of us will eventually have to answer the question, “Should I take the job?”
When faced with the prospect of potentially taking a new job, the average person will have some important considerations to make. Will this job be a positive career move for me? Does it pay me what I am worth? Does it offer good benefits? Is there room for upward mobility? Am I ready to move to where the job is located?
That last question is one of the biggest, especially for a divorced mom. Assuming you are the custodial parent, a potential move to a new location for a new job raises some complex issues if you wish to remain as the custodial parent.
Certainly, following your divorce, the prospect of taking a new job in a new location can be the perfect opportunity to pursue a brand new beginning in your life. It may afford you the chance to chase dreams you had long since given up on, and it may be exactly what you need to move forward following the end of your marriage. Unfortunately, if you have custody of your children, it will probably not be a simple process.
In the state of Florida, if you, as the custodial parent, intend to move further than 50 miles away from the non-custodial parent for a period of 60 days or longer, you must first inform the non-custodial parent, and there are only two resulting circumstances which will allow you to complete the move.
First, your ex can explicitly agree to the relocation. If you communicate with the father and alert him to the fact that you would like to move your children to a new location so you can accept a job offer, and he agrees, then you will both have to file a written agreement with the court. The agreement must contain the father’s consent to your move as well as modifications to your visitation agreement including information regarding visitation transportation arrangements. If anyone besides the father has visitation rights, they must also consent to the move. Once the court accepts your proposal, then you can lawfully relocate with your children and accept your new job opportunity.
The second way to achieve a lawful relocation as a custodial parent is to pursue a court order. If the father does not consent to your moving away with the children, then you will have to petition for your right to relocate. In your petition, you will be required to include a copy of your job offer, relevant information about the new location, the proposed moving date, and proposals for new visitation arrangements including specifics regarding things like transportation.
You are also required to inform the father of his right to oppose the petition. If he does not respond to the petition in an appropriate period of time, you will likely receive a default judgment in your favor allowing you to relocate. If he responds to the petition, your case will go to a hearing.
As with the original decision regarding child custody, the court will make its decision with one key factor in mind: will the move be in the best interests of your children? There are a number of different factors that will contribute to the court’s decision, but ultimately it is all about the best interests of your children. You must be able to make a reasonable, coherent argument that moving with you in order to accept your new job will be a positive development in your children’s lives. If the court agrees, they will grant you the right to move.
Whether the father agrees to consent to your relocation or not, you should enlist the guidance and advocacy of Florida Women's Law Group to help ensure you are compliant with all legal requirements and to give you the best chance to say “Yes” to your new job offer. If you fail to take the appropriate steps prior to relocation, you could find yourself faced with charges as severe as kidnapping. Contact the Quick Law Group today!