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Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 61.13001, any parent who wishes to relocate with the minor children more than fifty miles away must petition the court for approval.  The reason is that such a move affects the parenting plan and particularly the timeshare schedule.  The parents may agree in writing to change the schedule and submit it to the court for ratification. If they cannot agree the court will hold an evidentiary hearing to decide whether or not the move is in the best interest of the children. 
 

The legislature has developed a list of factors for a court to consider when a party petitions for relocation. They include subjects like the extent of the child’s involvement with the non-relocating parent and other family members in the child’s life; the age and developmental needs of the child; and the likelihood that both parents will be able to maintain their relationship with the child after the move.  The court may take into account a child’s preference if he or she is of sufficient maturity to express it. The judge will also consider whether or not the relocating parent’s financial circumstances will be improved by the move and any other consequences that may effect the child’s life.  If there is a history of parental substance abuse or domestic violence, the court will consider that too.

Relocation after a divorce or paternity judgment requires a parent to take specific steps to obtain court approval for the move.  The goal is always to ensure the move is in the best interest of the children.  In general, the case may be become complicated if one parent opposes the relocation. 

An evaluation by one of the experienced family law attorneys at the Rice & Rose Law Firm will prepare you to fulfill the procedural requirements of relocation.  We recommend you consult with one of our lawyers early and whenever you anticipate a move in the future or if you oppose a relocation.  We will steer you through the process and assist you in reaching your goal.

 

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