Florida Relocation and Child Custody Considerations

We're a mobile society. People get new jobs and life changes. And part of that often is a need to relocate to another town or State.

Looking to move? We’re a mobile society. People get new jobs and life changes. And often part of that is a need to relocate to another town or State.  

But what does it take? And what does the law say? If you’re thinking of moving, it’s important to know what is required. Years ago, it was easier to relocate, especially if you were the custodial parent. In Florida these days, we have parenting plans and no specific residential parent. And we have a relocation statute which is strict. 

The first step is seeing if there is an active case.

The relocation statute outlines a specific number of steps a parent must take prior to relocating more than 50 miles away. But it only applies if there is an active custody case. When there is no case, courts may look at the statute for guidance. But it’s not truly in effect unless there is a case.

The first step is filing a petition to relocate. The petition must include a description of the intended new home and the address. It must also include the date of the intended move, the home phone number, and a detailed reason for the move. In addition, there must be both a proposal for time-sharing after the move, and details on transportation. 

There is no presumption for or against a relocation request.

There is no presumption for or against a relocation request.Instead, the Court will look at the involvement of each parent with the child, and the age of the child. Also important is whether the substitute time-sharing will preserve the other parent’s relationship with the child. Of course, courts also must consider whether the move improves the quality of life for the parent and child. And the court will look at whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

Meeting all of these requirements means doing a bit of prior planning. If the other parent consents in writing, then all of these steps are not needed. But in most cases, a petition with the details outlined in this article are necessary.

We have handled many relocation cases involving children over the years. Those that are well thought out, and which benefit the child, are likely to be granted. But it’s important to review your case with an experienced attorney.