FLORIDA’S RELOCATION STATUTE, DO I REALLY HAVE TO GET PERMISSION TO MOVE MORE THAN 50 MILES?

This is a question that is often asked by custodial parents.  If you live in Florida the answer is yes.  Florida has a relocation statute, and it is found at §61.13001 in the Florida Statutes.  If you have a minor child and you are divorced or no longer in a relationship with the other parent, you cannot move more than 50 miles from the current residence without obtaining permission from the other parent or consent from the Court.  This condition applies to both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you in determining how you can comply with the relocation statute to enable you to move.

The statute requires that unless there is an agreement between the parties, a parent or other person with time-sharing rights seeking relocation must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent, and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child.  The pleadings must meet the following requirements:

a)  The petition to relocate must be signed under oath or affirmation 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, if known.

2)  The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.

3)  The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.

4)  The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.

5)  A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed 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 to the petition.

6)  A proposal for the revised post-relocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the post-relocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child.  Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.

7) Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type or larger as the type in the remainder of the petition:

A RESPONSE TO THE PETITION OBJECTING TO THE 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.

b) The Petition must be served on the other parent and on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child.

The Courts generally will address the relocation requests on an expedited basis, but it still can take 30-60 days, so a relocating parent must plan ahead.  Obtaining the assistance of a skilled family law attorney increases your chances of getting your Petition approved.  You should contact your Jacksonville family law attorney as soon as possible after you determine the move is necessary.

If a parent relocates the child without complying with the requirements of this subsection, it subjects the party in violation to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child, and may be taken into account by the Court in any initial or post-judgment action seeking a determination or modification of the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule as:

1) A factor in making a determination regarding the relocation of the child;

2) A factor in determining whether the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule should be modified;

3) A basis for ordering the temporary or permanent return of the child;

4) Sufficient cause to order the parent or other person seeking to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by the party objecting to the relocation;     5) Sufficient cause for the award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, including interim travel expenses incident travel expenses incident to access or time-sharing or securing the return of the child.

Currently, relocation of a minor child is one of the most litigated issues in Family law and works in conjunction with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act.  Most states have adopted some version of a relocation statute.  It is a complicated area of family law that requires a skilled family lawyer.  Contact your Jacksonville family law attorney to discuss your case before making a move you may live to regret.

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