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Relocating With Minor Children in Florida

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You have completed the divorce process in Florida and you were designated the primary residential parent for your children. A few years pass and you get a call from your boss that he wants to promote and relocate you to the company’s New York headquarters. You want to know whether you are permitted to move with your children or if you need to notify your ex-spouse about the move. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 61.13001 outlines two scenarios for relocation: where your spouse agrees to your move (relocation by agreement) or where your spouse objects to the move.

Scenario 1: Relocation by Agreement

If you notify your spouse of your desire to move and your spouse agrees to the move, then Section 61.13001 provides that the parties may file a written agreement. This written agreement must contain the following three elements:

  1. That both parties consent to the relocation;
  2. A time-sharing parenting schedule establishing the non-relocating parties’ time sharing with the children; and
  3. Any transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate the revised time-sharing parenting schedule.

If you already had a previous time-sharing schedule in place, you will need to seek ratification of your written agreement by court order. If no party requests an evidentiary hearing within 10 days of asking the court to ratify the agreement, there will be an automatic presumption that the relocation sought is in the best interests of the children.

Scenario 2: Filing a Petition to Relocate Your Spouse Opposes Your Move

If you are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to file a Petition to Relocate with the court and argue it is in the best interests of your children to relocate. Specifically, the Petition must be signed by you and allege the following:

  1. Where you intend to relocate (including the city, state and physical address if known)
  2. The telephone number of your intended new residence
  3. What date you intend to move to the new residence
  4. Why you want to relocate (if based on a new job offer, you must attach a copy of the job offer)
  5. A proposed revised time-sharing schedule after you relocate
  6. A statement in all capital letters that a response to the petition must be made in writing, filed with the court, and served on the parent seeking to relocate within 20 days after service of the petition. The statement must also say that if the non-relocating parent fails to object, the relocation will be allowed unless the court finds it is not in the best interests of the children.

If the non-relocating parent responds to the Petition to Relocate within 20 days, the court will then hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether to allow the parent to relocate with the children.

Factors Relevant to Deciding a Relocation Claim               

In determining whether to grant a Petition to Relocate, a court will look at whether the move is in the “best interests” of the children. To determine what is in the best interests of the children, a court will look at factors including but not limited to:

  • The impact the move will have on the children’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing;
  • The impact the proposed relocation will have on the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the children;
  • The reasons for relocation; and
  • The reasons the non-relocating, noncustodial parent objects to the relocation.

Contact our Experienced Winter Park Family Law Attorneys Today

Deciding whether to move for whatever reason is a big decision, particularly if you are trying to move with your child. It is therefore important to hire an experienced local family law attorney to ensure you meet all the requirements of your petition to relocate, if needed. Our skilled Winter Park attorneys at Cotter & Zelman, P.A. can help you understand the requirements for initiating and moving forward with your case to ensure you can present the best case for relocating. Contact us today for a free case review.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.13001.html

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