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Child custody: What happens when you want to relocate?

As if going through a divorce wasn't bad enough on your children, now you are contemplating relocating to another state. This, of course, means moving your children too far away from their noncustodial parent to meet the visitation requirements of your divorce decree. Which, in turns, means that a modification to your divorce decree is in order.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. There is a good possibility you will end up in family court, so seek legal advice before going any further. Find out what Florida's laws are regarding relocation and child custody.

2. You cannot predict how your children will be impacted by looking at how other families were impacted. Each family and every child is unique, so do some soul-searching about your own family behaviors. Will the move give your children a better life? Will it be too emotional? You must weigh the good and bad -- and definitely consider the children's future and relationship with their noncustodial parent.

3. Family court usually puts children first, and that includes their relationship with their noncustodial parent if they feel it is instrumental in their well-being. They will, however, take into consideration a move that will improve your family's quality of life -- as long as it is not too detrimental to the children.

4. If the noncustodial parent is contesting the relocation, you may have to prove that what will be good for you and the children overrides being further away from the other parent. An attorney may have some creative visitation ideas to help close this distance and make the impact less severe.

5. Expect criticism. Everyone may not agree with your decision. Make sure your decision to move is based on firm footing and not emotions. If you are sure it is the right thing, don't be discouraged by those who don't agree with you. They may have their own reasons for their objections.

After considering these things, if you have decided that relocation is the best thing for your family, see your attorney and let him or her start you on your path to a new life. They can ensure you have covered all of your bases.

Source: The Huffington Post, "6 Things to Expect and Consider When Relocating with Children After Divorce," Andrea Moore, accessed Nov. 22, 2016

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