If you are a single parent who is thinking about moving to a new city, or even out of the state, for a new job, a new relationship, or any other reason, you need to stop and review Florida’s laws on relocation first. Even if you have primary or sole custody of a child, there are restrictions on when and why you can move with that child without permission. These laws are meant to ensure one parent is not able to physically move with the child far away from the other parent.
While this may cause some inconvenience in some situations, it does help foster a strong bond between children and both parents. There are times, however, when it is possible to relocate. If you are considering this as an option or you fear your ex is thinking about moving without your consent, read through this introduction to Florida’s relocation laws.
What is Considered a Relocation?
In Florida, it is considered a relocation if one parent is moving 50 or more miles away from their current residence while there is a court order in place for time-sharing with the parent that is not moving. In addition, this move has to be for at least 60 days. A temporary relocation for things like vacation, seeking medical care, and similar options are not considered a relocation and would not fall under the same laws.
If both parents agree to the relocation of the child, a written agreement must be submitted to the courts so the child custody agreements can be updated. The document must show that both of the parents agree to the relocation, set up a new time-sharing schedule that both parents agree to, and identify how the transportation of the child will be arranged.
Must Petition for a Relocation
If the other parent doesn’t agree to the relocation, you can still push for approval to move. If you would like to do this, you will need to petition the courts for permission to move. The petition needs to include all relevant information including your proposed new address and phone number, the date of the proposed move, reasons for moving, a proposed visitation schedule, a proposed transportation schedule, and any other relevant details. The courts will need time to review the petition and schedule a hearing where they can listen to the other parent as well. This can take some time, so it is important to start the process as soon as possible. The Florida statute which details relocations can be found here.
What is in the Child’s Best Interests?
When reviewing a relocation petition, the courts will be looking at what is in the best interests of the child. If it is determined that relocating will be better for the child than staying in the area, they will approve the petition. The courts may make adjustments to the visitation proposal, transportation proposal, or other aspects of the agreement as well.
Petitioning for a relocation, or even submitting a relocation agreement, can be quite complicated. In addition, these cases are often time sensitive since you will need to know whether you are able to move as soon as possible. To help reduce delays and get through this as quickly as possible, please contact us to schedule a consultation with an attorney who will work with you every step of the way.