Parental Relocation

If you are divorced or in the process of a divorce in Tampa Bay, and you are considering relocating with your minor child in or out of Florida, you must familiarize yourself with Florida law regarding Parental Relocation with a child, which is governed by Florida Statute 61.13001.

Under Florida Law, Relocation means a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing  or modifying  time-sharing (custody), or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing (custody).  In order for the requirements of Florida’s Relocation Law to apply, the change of location with the child must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.

Most often the issue of relocating with a minor child arises after a Final Judgment of Divorce has been entered or a Final Judgment of Paternity has been signed by the Court. and one party desires to relocate with the minor child more than 50 miles from their residence that existed at the time the Final Divorce or Paternity Judgment is entered.

The parent seeking to relocate with the minor child can do so by either obtaining the other parent’s written consent, which is put in the form of an agreement, or by obtaining prior court approval following a contested hearing.

If an agreement is reached between the parties concerning the relocation of the minor child within or outside the state of Florida , the written agreement should:

  1. Reflect the parties consent to the relocation
  2. Define an access or time-sharing (custody) schedule for the non relocating parent
  3. Describe any transportation arrangements related to access or time-sharing

The parents relocation agreement should be presented to the Florida court so that an order can be entered by the court that approves and ratifies the parties’ agreement.  The court order will allow the parents to seek enforcement of the relocation agreement in the even there are matters of non-compliance with the agreement that arises between the parties.

Under Florida law, unless there is an agreement between the parents allowing the relocation, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition to relocate the minor child or children and serve it upon the other parent .

The Petition to relocate must be signed under oath and include:

  1. A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address if known.
  2. The mailing address of the intended new residence,if not the same as the physical address, if known.
  3. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
  4. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
  5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed RELOCATION.  If one the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached to the PETITION.
  6. A proposal for the revised post-relocation schedule for access and time-sharing with the child.
  7. The following statement in all capital letters must be typed in the Petition:

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.

If the parent seeking to relocates fails to comply with the requirements of  Florida Statute 61.13001, the PETITION to relocate may be deemed to be legally insufficient.

Under the FLORIDA law, the court evaluate all of the following factors when one parent seeks to relocate with the minor child and the other parent does not agree:

(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.

(b)The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.

(c)The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.

(d)The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

(e)Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.

(f)The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation.

(g)The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.

(h)That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations.

(i)The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.

For further information regarding Parental Relocation in the Tampa Florida area, please call Top AVVO Rated Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Tampa, Florida Nilo J. Sanchez, Jr. to discuss your unique case.