The Second District Appeals Court recently heard a case wherein a mother appealed the trial court’s decision establishing paternity of the minor child, ordering shared parental responsibility, and awarding the father majority time-sharing in Pennsylvania, when the mother lived in Florida. The Appeals Court upheld the trial court’s decision, but explained that the mother’s petition for shared parental responsibility and majority time-sharing, and the court’s subsequent ruling, was not subject to the relocation factors set forth in section 61.13001(7)(a)-(k).
The trial court ruled that the statute did not apply because the statutory definition of relocation excluded the situation faced by the mother and father from the requirements of the relocation statute, since the father was not relocating, but already lived in Pennsylvania, where both parties had lived previously.
Relocation is a substantial issue in many divorce cases, especially now that communication and travel options are more readily available to families. Changes in the relocation statute in 2009 take note of this fact, and create additional factors for courts to consider when making rulings on this issue.
See A.F. v. R.P.B., 36 Fla. L. Weekly D2228.
Patricia Dills is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice focuses in Divorce, Child Support, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. She primarily practices in Naples, Collier County, and Fort Myers, Lee County Florida.