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Do Florida Courts Care if I Move with My Child?

Ambrose Family Law is here to help you with your relocation case. Sandra K. Ambrose, P.A. has over 30 years practice in family law and will advocate and fight for your interests. Relocation is one of the most significant challenges facing families after a court order that determines the rights and responsibilities of the parent’s minor children.

Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes states that “If a parent attempts to relocate with a child and fails to comply with section 61.13001(3) of the Florida Statutes regarding the petition to relocate, such parent may be subject to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child, and such non-compliance may be taken into account by the court in a subsequent determination or modification of the parenting plan, access, or the time-sharing schedule.”

The statute is complex. It is important that the parents understand what this statute means to their case. The laws regarding the relocation of the children away from the other parent are very specific. The statute addresses the requirements of a relocation action where you wish to move more than 50 miles from your residence. However, even a move under 50 miles may have serious legal consequences if not done according to guidelines.

How Florida Law Handles Relocations

In Florida, judges balance the parent’s right to move with the other parent’s right to have a substantial and meaningful relationship with the child. The law provides the court a set of factors to consider when making the determination. It is important to be aware of these factors before you start to plan a relocation.

Factors considered in a contested relocation:

  • The relationships of the child, parents, and other important people in the child’s life such as grandparents and siblings
  • The child’s developmental age and needs
  • The emotional, physical, and educational development of the child
  • The preference of the child on where to live
  • Whether the relocation will better for the child and improve the quality of life for both parents
  • The reasons each parent is seeking or opposing the relocation
  • The current employment and economic situation of the parents
  • Whether the relocation is needed to improve the economic circumstances of the parents.
  • Whether the objecting parent has fulfilled their financial obligations to the parent seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, marital property, and marital debt obligations
  • History of domestic violence and substance abuse by either parent
  • Any other factors affecting the best interest of the child

If the non-moving parent disagrees with the move, the moving parent must file a petition with the court. The petition to relocate must be signed under oath and has very specific requirements for the pleading. The non-moving parent may object to the relocation, but it must be done in writing and there are very specific requirements, including that it states the reasons for the objection.

Relocation is time sensitive and the courts have expedited time for court hearings on these matters. However, the time the court provides may not be adequate to prove your case, so you should discuss this with a family attorney like Sandra K. Ambrose, P.A. as soon as possible.

Need to Relocate with Your Child? Contact our Florida Family Lawyer Today

It is strongly advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney before you proceed to relocate. Relocation without a prior written agreement with the other parent or an order of the court will likely result in the court removing the child from your care and will impact the factors which the court must consider in making its determination about relocation. The consequences may be harsh if you are found in violation of the statute.

We can handle your relocation case whether you are a parent attempting to relocate, or a parent attempting to stop a relocation. Please call our office today at (407) 388-8740 to schedule a consultation to discuss the particulars of your relocation case.