MOVING WITH YOUR MINOR CHILD AFTER YOUR DIVORCE (RELOCATION)
When Does Florida Statutes Limit My Ability to Move?In the state of Florida, if you no longer live with the other parent of your child, there are statutory limitations on moving with your minor child. These limitations begin if (a) you move 50 miles or more from the residence at the time of the divorce (or other time-sharing court order), and (b) the move extends 60 days or beyond. If this occurs, the statute requires you to either obtain written consent of the other parent or obtain a court order permitting you to relocate prior to moving.
What Must Be in A Consent?Any written consent from the other parent must: (a) specify that the consent is given; (b) specify the time-sharing schedule for the parent giving permission; and (c) specify the transportation arrangements for the time-sharing agreed upon. Once the agreement is fully executed by the parties, it must be ratified by the Court. It is important to realize that a verbal agreement is insufficient. If you move 50 miles or more based upon a verbal agreement, the other parent can change his/her mind and, through the courts, force the minor child's return to the State of Florida.
What If the Other Parent Will Not Consent?If the other parent refuses to provide written consent, then the parent who wishes to relocate must file a Petition for Relocation and seek the Court's permission in order to move. Once the Petition is filed, it must be served upon the other parent, who will then have 20 days to formally object to the Petition. If the other party fails to do so, the relocation is generally approved by the Court (unless the Court finds the relocation is not in the child's best interest-which rarely occurs).
If an objection is filed, you can request a temporary hearing which will permit you to relocate temporarily within 30 days from the date of an appropriately filed request. Further, the Court is required to hold a final hearing within 90 days from the date of an appropriately filed request. If you fail to obtain court approval prior to relocating, the Court will enter an order, upon request, requiring the minor child to return to the jurisdiction.
What Will I Have To Prove to Get Court Approval to Relocate?In order to relocate over the objection of one parent, you must prove that the move is in the best interest of the minor child. This burden is not always easy to prove. The Court looks at, among other things, (a) the relationships between the child and the parents, siblings, etc. and what effect the move will have on this relationship, along with the ability to preserve the relationships; (b) the age and needs of the child; (c) the child's preference; (d) the quality of life the move will provide to the parent and child; (e) the reasons for relocation and for opposing relocation; (f) financial situation of each parent and whether relocation is necessary to improve same; (g) if the other parent has any financial obligation outstanding to the relocating parent; (h) career opportunities that result from relocation; and (i) whether there is any substance abuse or domestic violence history between the parties.
We Can Help!Whether you live in Hollywood, Hallandale, Dania Beach, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Sunrise, Miramar, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Davie, or Deerfield Beach, our firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to assist you in pursuing your relocation request. We can assist you in drafting an agreement to be ratified by the Court or with a relocation petition, whichever may be necessary. Please contact our firm for a free consultation.
Penny Taylor Miller, Esq.
Cindy S. Vova, P.A.
8551 W. Sunrise Blvd.