Relocation is probably one of the most difficult issues in family law to resolve. Generally, Florida law provides that, absent agreement or court order, neither parent can move further than 50 miles from where that parent lived at the time any pending action was filed or from the parent’s residence when the last order establishing or modifying time sharing was entered, for a period of greater than 60 days. The obvious intention of this law is to enable both mothers and fathers to enjoy meaningful time with their children.
Situations arise, however, where one parent cannot or may chose not to continue to reside in the same geographic area. Job opportunities, proximity to other family members, illness, or other economic considerations may make it desirable to relocate beyond the 50 mile limitation.
In those cases, a parent has two options:
- First: if the non-moving parent does not object to relocation, the parent may obtain an agreement from the other parent to relocate. This agreement must be in writing and requires specific language to comply with the Florida Relocation Statute. Further, the agreement must be ratified by the Court. Although not specifically addressed in the statute, we strongly recommend that the Court order be signed prior to the move.
- Second: If the parents cannot agree on relocation, the parent seeking to move must file a Petition for Relocation with the Court. A Petition for Relocation involves a complicated process, and failure to strictly comply with any of the provisions in the statue could result in the denial of your petition even before the Court addresses the merits of your case.
On the other hand, if you are faced with the possibility that your children’s other parent wants to move away, and you feel that is not in the children’s best interest, then you need to be equally prepared to show the Court why the factors a judge must evaluate prove that a relocation is not in the children’s best interest.
The Florida Relocation Statue lists 11 factors for the Court’s consideration in evaluating whether relocation is in the child’s best interest. Relocation is definitely one area where, regardless of your position, hiring a seasoned family law attorney is a must.
Our firm is experienced in handling relocation cases, whether you wish to move or whether you oppose relocation. From your initial consultation, we will review your unique circumstances and give you an honest evaluation of your particular situation. Regardless of what side of the relocation equation you are on, the Law Office of Cindy S. Vova always keep the best interests of your children at heart.