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How Can I Relocate With My Child After Divorce?
One of the most common issues in family law is when one parent needs or wants to relocate with their minor child(ren). Whether the reason for the proposed relocation is legitimate or not, the parent wishing to relocate must be aware of Florida Statute § 61.13001 BEFORE moving.
Under § 61.13001, a parent may not relocate more than 50 miles away for more than 60 days without a written agreement or an order from the Court. What most parents fail to realize is the rule actually applies to BOTH parents – whether he or she is the majority time-sharing parent or not.
If both parents agree, then the next step is simply asking the Court to enter their new arrangement for time-sharing.
The real problems happen when the parents cannot agree. The parent relocating must file a Petition to Relocate with the Court. There are very strict requirements with the Petition to Relocate, which is why it is best to seek legal representation. A Petition to Relocate can be denied as void simply because it does not meet the language requirements of § 61.13001. Alternatively, if the other parent fails to request a hearing or file an objection to the relocation within the short time-frame, the Court will grant the Petition to Relocate without a hearing. It is therefore extremely important whether you are the requesting parent or the objecting parent – that you consult with an experienced family law attorney.
Should you find yourself at a relocation hearing, you should know that the Court’s main objective is determining whether the move is in the best interest of the child(ren). It is not enough for a parent to move just to earn a higher income. For example, a job opportunity with more income, coupled with better schools and less crime, is a good scenario for a potential relocation. However, the Court will need to hear testimony and evidence regarding the “best interests” factors.
In the event a parent relocates without written agreement or prior authorization from the Court, the consequences can be serious. The Court can hold that parent in contempt and require the child(ren) returned to the other parent. In any relocation case, the Court will consider each parent’s conduct in its final decision.
Our firm handles all family law cases, including relocation. We have represented both the party wishing to relocate and the objecting party. For more information, please contact our office. We will be happy to guide you through the process.
Roberta “Bobbi” Blush lives in Seminole, Florida and is an associate with the Law Office of Robert Eckard & Associates. Bobbi has represented Florida families in the areas of dissolution of marriage, paternity, child support, adoption, time-sharing, and domestic violence.
The Law Office of Robert Eckard & Associates (LORE) has not been retained for any matter by you until such time as a duly executed retainer is signed by you and an authorized agent of LORE and any retainer deposit paid and returned to us. Nothing contained herein is intended to create an attorney client relationship or be considered legal advice, as such, no conflict of interest shall be presumed in the event LORE is later retained by an adverse party. See Rule 4-1.18 et. al., 2006 Florida Supreme Court.