The most common mistake people make when asking the Court to relocate with their Minor Children is failing to have a PLAN. More details on that below…but first, what is relocation?
Florida Statute defines relocation as a change in the principal residence of a parent or other person of at least 50 miles, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including temporary absences for vacation, education, or health care.
Two ways to Relocate:
1. Relocation by Agreement:
A parent may relocate with the minor child with the consent of the non-relocating parent. If the parents and “every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child agree” regarding the relocation, they may sign a written agreement that:
✅ Reflects the consent to the relocation;
✅Defines an access or time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent and any other persons who are entitled to access or timesharing; and
✅ Describes, if necessary, any transportation arrangements related to access or time-sharing.
If the parents agree to a schedule for the child, the parents must obtain a Court Order accepting the agreement. If this is the case, the agreement allowing the relocation must be filed with the Court. An evidentiary hearing is not required unless one of the parties requests a hearing within ten (10) days after the agreement is filed with the Court. If no request for a hearing is made, it is presumed that the relocation is in the child’s best interest and the court may ratify the agreement without an evidentiary hearing.
2. Court Order Granting your (Request) Petition to Relocate:
You can request the Court to allow you to move with the your child by filing a petition to relocate. The petition to relocate must contain the following information and be signed under oath:
- A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.
- The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.
- A home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
- The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
- A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation.
- If you want to relocate due to a job offer, the written job offer must be attached to the petition.
- A proposal for the revised post-relocation schedule of timesharing with the minor child.
- Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type in the remainder of the notice:
- A RESPONSE TO THE PETITION OBJECTING TO RELOCATION MUST BE MADE IN WRITING, FILED WITH THE COURT, AND SERVED ON THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON SEEKING TO RELOCATE WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS PETITION TO RELOCATE. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO THE RELOCATION, THE RELOCATION WILL BE ALLOWED, UNLESS IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING.
A proposal for the revised post-relocation schedule of time-sharing must be included as part of the petition. Said schedule must contain a proposal for the post-relocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child. Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.
What do Courts consider?
Cases where parents cannot agree to relocation with the minor child are considered contested cases. Contested cases will be decided by a judge at trial. In reaching its decision, the Court must evaluate all of the following factors:
- The relationship between the child and the relocating parent or other person seeking relocation and the child and the non-relocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other important persons in the child’s life.
- The child’s age and developmental stage, the child’s needs, and the impact relocation will have on the child’s physical, mental, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent or other person and the likelihood of compliance with substitute time-sharing once the non-relocating parent or other person is outside the jurisdiction of the court.
- The child’s preference, considering the age and maturity of the child.
- Whether relocation will enhance the relocating parent or other person’s and child’s quality of life, including financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.
- The reasons each person seeks or opposes relocation.
- The current employment and economic situation of each parent or other person and whether the proposed location will improve the economic circumstances of the relocating parent and child.
- That relocation is sought in good faith.
- The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation takes place.
- Any history of substance abuse or domestic violence.
- Any other factor affecting the child’s best interest.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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