Ask a Lawyer: Child relocation question – Which motion to file first?

Question:

I have a standard shared parental responsibility agreement with my son’s mother. We have never been married, and I am the non-custodial parent. My son’s mother has filed a motion to relocate to Texas. I intend to file a motion of opposition to relocation, but if my motion is denied and the court allows her to move, then I plan to file a motion to become the custodial parent. Should I file the motion to be the custodial parent at the same time I file the opposition to relocation, or should I wait for the outcome of the latter? Also am I justified in the courts eyes to attempt to be the custodial parent just to keep my son close to me in Florida?

Answer:

I assume that you have established paternity with the court. If you have not, you likely cannot file a Motion in Opposition. I generally file the Motion in Opposition and Motion to Modify Custody at the same time. If you have been an active parent and your wish to stay active is a basis for a Motion in Opposition. However, the Motion often hinges more on the reason the mother wishes to move.
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