Parental Relocation in Florida
This guide is intended as an overview for the process of relocation of the permanent residence of a minor child subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts.
Current Florida Laws on RelocationThe relocation of a minor child greater than 50 miles from their present residence when there is Court Ordered Time-Sharing at issue, or pending, is governed by Florida Statutes 61.13001. This statute is available online and must be followed to avoid the necessity of return from a move or the entry of a "pick up order" compelling the return of the child into the area within the jurisdiction of the Court at issue. The issue of relocation comes to bear both in Paternity and Dissolution matters. The statute plainly provides that relocation of the child's residence for a distance greater than 50 miles from their current permanent residence can only be done with either the written consent of the other parent or an Order of the Court. The failure to obtain either of these prior to relocation is a serious issue. Any parents contemplating relocation should carefully review the contents of Florida Statutes 61.130001.
When does the Relocation Statute become an issue and concern?The Relocation Statute comes into play and must be considered once a child is subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts. Specifically, if there is a relocation prior to the filing of a Dissolution or Paternity Action, there are no restrictions. Once any action is filed with the Court involving a minor child the Relocation Statute is at issue and must be complied with fully.
Can Relocation be accomplished without going to Court?The short answer is yes, however, this is an area where caution is warranted. The statute makes provision for relocation by the agreement of the parties. However, the contents of the agreement should be carefully written and cover all essential information including:
1, The address where the relocating parent and child are intended to reside.
2. Essential contact information, Telephone Number, Email address, and date of relocation.
3. The Out of State Time Sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent.
4. The costs and means of affording time sharing between the child and the non-relocating
5. The notarized signature of both Parents,
6, The final requirement of the statute is critical. The statute provides as follows: "If there is an existing cause of action, judgment, or decree of record pertaining to the child's residence or a time-sharing schedule, the parties shall seek ratification of the agreement by court order without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing unless a hearing is requested, in writing, by one or more of the parties to the agreement within 10 days after the date the agreement is filed with the court. If a hearing is not timely requested, it shall be presumed that the relocation is in the best interest of the child and the court may ratify the agreement without an evidentiary hearing." If there is a case pending or
a prior cause of action, this step must be followed precisely.
What are my options if the other Parent does not agree to my relocation?Unless an agreement has been entered as described above, the parent seeking relocation must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent. The petition must include the following required elements:
The petition to relocate must be signed before a notary under penalty of perjury and include:
1. A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address.
2. The mailing address of the intended new residence.
3. The home telephone number of the new residence, typically the current cellular phone number.
4. The date of the intended relocation.
5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached and submitted with the petition.
6. A proposal for the revised postrelocation time-sharing schedule including postrelocation transportation arrangements necessary to accommodate the proposed time-sharing with the child unless there is an order in place restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause entered prior to the relocation petition.
7. The following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type as the petition, or larger, and preferably in BOLD print:
"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."
It is crucial that the petition to relocate be served on the other parent and on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child.
The failure to strictly follow these steps will render the Petition invalid and relocation will be denied.