Child Relocation

Link to part 1 of Moving with your minor children

Florida Statutes set forth the procedure one should follow in obtaining permission to move with a child. This procedure must be followed precisely in order to secure a hearing on the merits of the prospective move. One may ask for temporary or permanent permission to move, or both. The statutes set forth numerous factors which the Court must consider in exercising its discretion in permitting or preventing the move. The ultimate factor is whether the move is in the child’s best interest. One may call witnesses and present evidence to the Court on both sides of the issue. When the child is too young to testify, the Court may even order a social investigation to uncover aspects of the case which the Court may wish to consider in reaching its decision.

It is important to note that in some cases where there has been no prior order relating to custody, the relocation statute may not apply. Before you make a decision about moving or even discussing the issue with the other parent, you should obtain legal advice especially if you are pregnant. If you are the parent without a custody order you should obtain advice in taking steps to insure that the statute will come into play and that the Court will have a hearing on the matter. Good planning with your family law attorney can preserve and create rights you may not otherwise have.

In light of our highly mobile society, it is not surprising that one parent may want or need to move with his or her minor child leaving the other parent behind. The reason may be for new job opportunity for a parent or their new spouse. Depending on the distance involved, it may require adjusting the time sharing between the parents by hours, days, or even months.

In Florida, the legislature has determined that child relocation under statute involves a move beyond 50 miles from the existing residence for more than 60 days, not including time away for vacation, education or medical treatment. If the move meets this criteria one must either have the written agreement of the other parent to move, or they must ask the Court’s permission to do so. Relocating without that permission and without a Court order can result in dire circumstances including being held in contempt of court and being forced to return the children. That conduct may also be taken into account in any subsequent proceedings when the Court is determining whether the move is to be permitted or in restructuring time sharing between the parents.

Link to part 2 of Moving with your minor children