Child Relocation in Florida

For divorced or divorcing parents, moving with a minor child can be a big deal if not done properly. Not all moves invoke the relocation statute. The move must be more than 50 miles and last for at least 60 days.

Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes states: “If a parent attempts to relocate with a child and fails to comply with section 61.13001(3) of the Florida Statutes regarding the petition to relocate, such parent may be subject to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child, and such non-compliance may be taken into account by the court in a subsequent determination or modification of the parenting plan, access, or the time-sharing schedule.” There are several options at your disposal if you need to relocation with a child.

Consent and Settlement Agreement

If the child’s parents agree to the relocation, they can execute and file a settlement agreement with the court. The agreement must show the noncustodial parent’s approval of the move, any necessary changes to the visitation schedule and a record of any transportation arrangements the parents have agreed upon. If anyone else has visitation rights, they will need to consent as well.

If One Parent Disagrees with the Move

If the parties to not agree to the move, then the moving parent must file a petition to relocate with the court in order to allow the move. The petition must disclose certain information, including the reason(s) for the move, the specific location of the move (including address, mailing address and phone number if available), a proposal for visitation and parenting schedules after the move, and a notice telling the non-custodial parent how to object to the petition. If no response is made, the judge will generally allow the move if is apparent that the move would serve the child’s best interests. If the non-moving parent does respond, then the court will convene a trial.

The Standard at Court

The child’s best interests are of paramount concern for the court. That being said, in making their decision, the judge will consider how the move will affect the child’s relationship with family or friends in the area, how the move will affect the child’s mental, physical, and emotional health and development, and the reasons for the relocation as well as the non-custodial parent’s reasons for objecting.

An experienced lawyer can guide you through a relocation case, whether you are attempting to relocate or objecting to a relocation. If you need further information, feel free to contact The Wheeler Firm today to schedule a consultation or simply call (850) 613-6923.