My Former Spouse is Relocating! Can I Modify Custody?

Can I modify custody if my former spouse is relocating?  Relocation does not in and of itself create a basis for a modification of custody.  The First District Court of Appeal recently revisited this issue in Moore v. McIntosh.  In Moore, the parties had both relocated to different parts of Okaloosa County, Florida, placing them both at twenty miles from the  child’s school.  The appellate court held that because of the language in the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, the trial court lacked any basis to change the parties’ custody arrangement.

The Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in this case provided that if either party intended on relocating outside of the school district, then that party would have to give a ninety-day notice to the other party to allow for negotiation.  Hence, the appellate court held that no substantial change had occurred to justify modification of custody.  If the final judgment had expressly prohibited a move, then the moving party would have to show there had been a substantial change in circumstance to justify the relocation.

What does this mean for you?  If you are getting divorced the contemplation of a future move by you or your spouse must be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney so you know your current and future options.  If you are post-divorce and wish to relocate or your former spouse is relocating, speaking with an experienced attorney can help you either litigate or negotiate.  At Parker & DuFresne, P.A., our attorneys are ready and experienced to assist you whether you are divorcing or are facing a post-divorce relocation.  Call us for a confidential consultation today.

 

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