Often after divorce, people decide to move for various reasons. For example, some move because of new jobs, while others move to be with new partners. But, what happens when children are involved? Can a parent freely relocate with their child whenever they want to after a Florida divorce? Florida has strict laws that govern parental relocation. This is because courts understand that if a parent moves with a child, the non-relocating parent might be unable to continue a visitation schedule comfortably. Florida balances a relocating parent’s right to relocate with the non-relocating parent’s right to maintain meaningful contact with their child(ren). Florida courts believe that it is in a child’s best interests to maintain a meaningful relationship with the parents even after the parents get divorced.
What is the Meaning of “Parental Relocation?”
Florida Statute 61.13001 addresses the issue of parental relocation with a child. According to the law, relocation occurs when a parent moves with their child to a new location at least 50 miles from their principal place of residence for at least 60 consecutive days. A child’s principal place of residence is the place of residence known to the court when the last time-sharing order was established or modified or when the pending action to alter or establish time-sharing was filed.
Temporarily staying somewhere that is not a child’s principal residence, for vacation purposes, education, or the child’s health, without the other parent’s or court’s approval, is not relocation.
Restrictions on Relocation
Florida parental relocation laws only allow a parent to relocate with a minor child if the other parent agrees to the relocation or if the relocating parent obtains approval from the court for them to relocate with their child.
Relocation by Agreement
Suppose a non-relocating parent and all those entitled to visit and spend time with a child agree to a relocation. In that case, they can enter into a written agreement with the relocating parent. The agreement entered in the case of Relocation by Agreement should reflect that every involved party has consented to the relocation. The agreement should also define the time-sharing schedule that the non-relocating parent and any other people entitled to visit and spend time with the child will use. Lastly, the agreement should describe, if necessary, transportation arrangements.
Petition to Relocate
Even though it is usually best for parents to amicably reach an agreement, it is often hard for that to happen. When parents cannot agree to a relocation, the parent who wants to move has the option of filing a petition to relocate. A relocating parent must file this petition and serve it to the non-relocating parent.
A petition to relocate should include details such as;
- The addresses (both physical and mailing) of the intended new residence
- A description of the location of the intended new residence
- The date of the intended move
It is vital to note that a non-relocating parent is allowed to object to a proposed relocation. Also, keep in mind that if a non-relocating parent fails to respond to a petition to relocate, the court might grant the relocation request without a hearing.
Contact a Florida Parental Relocation Attorney Today
If you need help filing a petition to relocate, or objecting to an already-filed petition, contact a qualified parental relocation attorney at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., at (813) 341-3333 to schedule a consultation.