Do I need the court's permission to move children within the state of Florida?

Asked about 1 year ago - Ocala, FL

My ex and I have joint custody, the children live with me as primary parent. The ages are 12 and 17. When we divorced 11 years ago, my ex was already living out of state . He has since moved in and out of the state of Florida several times, even moving outside the United States for a year and a half. He never petitioned the court for permission to move. Now, I may need to move 360 miles from where I live in Central Florida to another city in Northern Florida, due to foreclosure on my home. We have a relative that can provide a home cost-free in N. FL and since my husband is disabled it really is our only viable choice. Will I need to petition the court? There is nothing in my divorce paperwork that says I can't relocate, and the ex doesn't follow the visitation schedule and never has.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jennifer Ann Jacobs

    Contributor Level 16

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Florida law requires court permission to move the residence of the children more than 50 miles. Your ex was not required to obtain court permission because he relocated himself, but not the primary residence of the children. If your ex agrees to you moving, get it in writing, and you will have met the requirements of the law. Otherwise, you will have to file a Petition to Relocate, which can be a lengthy process.

  2. Justin Gary Hausler

    Contributor Level 16

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the order is silent Florida Statute restricts you to 50 miles. If he files contempt, it will be hard to argue he didn't honor the order either if you didn't raise those issues at the time. Talk to your ex, if he won't agree, you may have no choice but to petition for modification.

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  3. Robert Jason De Groot

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Yes, you need to file a relocation petition.

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq., 386-337-8239
  4. Melissa Moore Stockham

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . As several people have indicated here, yes, if the final judgment is silent on the issue of relocation, you are limited to 50 miles' distance. I would recommend notifying your ex-husband in writing (with a certified letter, if possible to verify receipt) of your intention to move. If he is willing to agree to it with a change in parenting plan, moving it through the Court system will be relatively quick. However, if he objects to the move, then a petition with the Court complete with service upon him will be necessary. Moreover, if you do move, make sure you notify the Court as soon as the move is a certainty of your new address. The Court must have an up-to-date address for you at all times. His unwillingness to follow through with the visitation schedule, while I am sure is frustrating, is nonetheless irrelevant to his ability to object to your plans to relocate the children such a distance. However, if the case does end up going to Court and the Judge has to make an estimation as to what is in the best interest of the children, the Judge can and probably will use his systematic unwillingness to follow any sort of time-sharing (which is the new term for visitation) plan as part of the determination of what is in the best interest of the children. Good luck to you! Hope this helps!

    Please note that the answers provided herein are the attorney's professional opinions based upon the attorney's... more

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