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Difficult decisions in relocation cases

Child custody arrangements are often difficult for a presiding family law judge to make. In some cases, divorcing parents in Florida will agree on a child custody arrangement on their own, but often, a judge will need to establish an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. When parents live close to each other, shared parenting time may be in the child's best interest. However, when the custodial parent wants to move away, the family law judge must make difficult decisions.

The impact of a custodial parent's relocation can be considerable. Distance between the child and one of the parents could minimize or eliminate the ability of that parent to participate in daily activities in the child's life, and this could have a considerable impact on the child. Often, a parent will request to move away due to professional opportunities or the desire to get re-married, and there is often not an easy resolution.

When such a request is made to the court, a family law judge may review a number of factors in an effort to determine what decision may be in the child's best interest. For example, some of the factors that may be reviewed by the judge include why the request is being made, the distance of the relocation plans, the child's desired living arrangement, the child's age, if the parents can agree on co-parenting arrangements and other related factors.

Each state has its own guidelines when considering a request by a custodial parent to relocate. A family law attorney may be able to outline the options to a client who is contesting such a move.

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

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