Often parents going through a custody battle think about whether they would like to stay in the same place where they are fighting the battle. Working as a divorce attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, I have noticed that many individuals feel that once they have gone through their divorce or custody issues, they really would like to relocate to a different city. When this issue comes up, whether it be for a job change or a life change, the answer is always the same in a Florida case involving children: If you have the child the majority of the time, then you must put the other parent on notice of your intent to relocate. Florida Statute 61.13001 is the Relocation Statute that dictates how a parent can move with a minor child in Florida.
As is the case with most statutes, understanding the terms is the key to actually following the provisions laid out by the legislature so that you are in compliance with Florida law. If you do not follow the statutory requirements, then you may move to your new place only to be forced back to Florida by the court and your ex.
To summarize the Statute, a relocation is based on a parent moving away from the primary residential address for more than 60 consecutive days and that move is more than 50 miles away from the residence. Basically, if you live in Jacksonville and move to Orlando, then you have to file for relocation under the statute.
In order to relocate, the moving parent must comply with the statutory requirements and notification process.
How does one follow the requirements of relocation in Florida? First, you may reach an agreement on relocating with the other parent. If you do, then it is important to have that agreement formalized into writing that dictates information regarding the consent, any changes to the time-sharing plan, and any necessary changes in transportation or other factors of the final judgment impacted by the change.
If there is not an agreement, then you should file a Petition to Relocate and have it served like a normal petition on the other parent or party. Everything in the petition must follow the guidelines provided in Florida Statute 61.13001(3). It is important to note that everything that is required in the statute will be required in your petition in order to be in compliance with the laws regarding this action. If you do not follow it, then there may be consequences such as unwanted delays in your move.
Once the petition is filed, the other party has 20 days to file an objection with the Court. If an objection is filed, then it must also meet all statutory requirements of 61.130001(5). The Court can then hear the matter and make a ruling as to whether the move is in the best interest of the child.
While moving to a new place can be a good change, not following the statute before you do it can lead to more difficulties down the road. The court has the right to be the ultimate decision-maker and determine whether a move is in the best interest of the child. Both parents have a say in where the child lives and trying to avoid that is only going to cause more difficulties for you and your child. Speak with a family law attorney that understands the relocation provisions and can guide you through them accurately.