November 30, 2023

Florida Child Relocation After Divorce: Legal Requirements and FAQs

When it comes to relocating with a child after a divorce in Florida, understanding the legal requirements is crucial to ensure compliance with the law and protect both parents’ and the child’s best interests. This FAQ-style article sheds light on the complex laws surrounding child relocation, answering commonly asked questions that parents may have throughout the process. From seeking consent to determine an appropriate relocation distance, we aim to help parents navigate the challenging process while staying within the boundaries of Florida law.

As each family’s circumstances are unique, it is essential to take the necessary steps required by Florida’s child relocation statutes on a case-by-case basis. By educating yourself on these requirements, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions that prioritize your child’s well-being and ensure your family’s legal protection throughout the process.

1: Understanding Florida’s Child Relocation Laws

Florida’s child relocation laws are governed by Florida Statute § 61.13001, which outlines the requirements and procedures for relocating with a child after a divorce or the establishment of a parenting plan. The primary purpose of these laws is to protect the rights of both parents and the best interests of the child while ensuring compliance with existing custody and visitation agreements. It’s important to note that relocation doesn’t only apply to moves out of state, but also to moves within the state of Florida that exceed 50 miles from the current residence and last for 60 days or longer.

2: Seeking Consent for Child Relocation

Before relocating with a child in Florida, the relocating parent must first attempt to obtain written consent from the other parent. This process involves providing the following information:

  1. A description of the proposed new residence, including the physical address and mailing address, if different.
  2. The home telephone number of the new residence.
  3. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
  4. A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation.
  5. A proposal for the revised visitation schedule, including transportation arrangements, to facilitate ongoing contact between the child and the non-relocating parent.

If both parents agree to the relocation and sign a written agreement that includes the above information and reflects the consent of both parties, the court typically approves the relocation without a hearing, provided it serves the best interests of the child.

3: Petitioning the Court for Child Relocation

In cases where the non-relocating parent does not consent to the move, the relocating parent must file a Petition to Relocate with the court. The petition should include the aforementioned details regarding the new residence, reasons for the move, and proposed visitation schedule. Additionally, the petition must be served to the non-relocating parent, who then has 20 days to file a response if they object to the relocation.

Failing to comply with these requirements may result in the court ordering the return of the child and potentially modifying the custody and visitation arrangements in favor of the non-relocating parent.

4: Factors that Influence the Court’s Decision on Child Relocation

If the non-relocating parent objects to the move, and the matter proceeds to court, the court will consider several factors to determine whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with both the relocating and non-relocating parent, as well as any siblings or other significant persons in the child’s life.
  2. The child’s age, developmental stage, and needs, as well as the potential impact of the relocation on the child’s educational, emotional, and physical development.
  3. The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through a revised visitation schedule, considering the financial and logistical challenges involved.
  4. The child’s preference, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference.
  5. The reasons provided by each parent for seeking or opposing the relocation.
  6. The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and the extent to which the relocation is necessary to improve their financial situation.
  7. The degree to which the relocating parent’s proposed move will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent and the child, including better educational opportunities, job prospects, and support from extended family members.

Ultimately, the court must weigh these factors and determine whether the proposed relocation serves the best interests of the child involved.

5: Temporary Orders and Emergency Situations

In some cases, the court may issue temporary orders regarding child relocation. These orders are intended to address immediate concerns and provide short-term solutions while the court considers the circumstances of the case. For instance, the court may temporarily assign custody of the child to the relocating parent pending a final hearing on the matter.

In emergency situations—such as instances of abuse or the imminent threat of harm to the child —a parent may petition the court for an expedited review of the relocation request. The court may grant a temporary relocation order based on the circumstances, subject to further review and a subsequent determination that aligns with the child’s best interests.

6: Enforcement of Child Relocation Orders in Florida

Once a court has issued a child relocation order, both parents must abide by its terms or risk being held in contempt of court. Violations of relocation orders can lead to significant legal consequences, including the imposition of fines or even incarceration. Moreover, the court may revisit the child custody and visitation arrangements to reflect the parent’s noncompliance with Florida law.

As child relocation after a divorce in Florida is a complex and often contentious process, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal requirements and help ensure that your rights and your child’s interests are protected.

Trust Dorsey Law Jax with Your Child Relocation Matters

In conclusion, understanding and adhering to Florida’s child relocation laws is paramount in safeguarding the rights of both parents and the best interests of the child. The intricate legal procedures involved in relocating with a child after a divorce may seem daunting, but enlisting the help of an experienced family law attorney can alleviate much of the stress and uncertainty.

At Dorsey Law Jax, our dedicated attorneys possess extensive experience in handling child relocation matters and navigating the complexities of Florida family law. Reach out to our compassionate team today to schedule a consultation and receive the guidance you need for a successful and well-informed relocation process that prioritizes your precious family bond. Let us help you protect your rights and your child’s future.


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