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Distinguishing Between Formal and Informal Requests to Relocate


Family in need of attorney

Determining the approach to take in addressing matters associated with the relocation of a child will generally depend on the circumstances. You may have received a document in the mail, or otherwise been informed of a parent’s or other person’s desire or intention to relocate with a child. Examples of relocation-related correspondence include a formal petition to relocate, a motion requesting the modification of an existing order, a request to enter into written agreement to relocate, or any other verbal, written, or other communication suggesting, implying, or requesting the relocation of a child. If you have received a written request to relocate, it is important to determine the legal effect of such correspondence, by distinguishing between formal legal process and other types of relocation-related correspondence.

When a request for relocation involves formal legal process, and the recipient wishes to object to the relocation, a written response is necessary. It is important to know that there are statutory time limitations as well as other procedural requirements that must be adhered to in order to contest to relocation. Upon receipt of a document, which can be positively identified as legal process, the contents of such document should provide you with the statutory time limitations and procedures for submitting a response. If you are unsure as to the legal effect of a document received, or if you have question regarding how to properly assert your objection to relocation, it is important to discuss your matter with a family law attorney as soon as concerns arise.

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In other cases, a document received may simply be a request to enter into an agreement for relocation. While the failure to respond to informal requests to enter an agreement to relocate, should not result in the waiver of one’s legal rights, such requests often signify a parent’s intent to seek relocation through formal means, such as petitioning the court, requesting a modification, or seeking ratification of a pending or existing agreement, judgment, or decree. Often, simply disregarding an informal request, will not make the matter go away. Likewise, verbal requests to relocate should also be given serious consideration, to ensure that you are adequately prepared in the event relocation is later sought through formal proceedings.

As a parent, or other person entitled to access or time-sharing with a child, it is your legal right to object to the relocation of a child. However, the timing of an objection is often crucial in successfully challenging a request to relocate. While, careful attention should always be taken to ensure adherence to statutory time limitations in the case of formal relocation requests, it is also necessary to consider the timing of addressing relocation issues in general, in terms of your overall desires and expectations associated with your legal entitlement to time-sharing with or access to a child.

Therefore, when any concerns arise over relocation, even those extending from an informal request or a parent’s suggestion of a possible relocation, it is better to take a proactive approach as soon as concerns arise, by seeking legal advice from a family law attorney experienced in handling relocation matters. Our dedicated and aggressive team of Gainesville Family Law and Relocation Attorneys have handled numerous relocation cases, and wholeheartedly believe that access to your child is not only important to the child’s interests, but is also your legal right.