Florida Statutes §61.13001 (1)(e) defines relocation as “a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing.”

Relocating or moving also means a significant change and a lot of new things coming your way. A new neighborhood, new friends, new school or workplace, even a new language, food, and culture, depending on where you decide to move.

In Florida, no law can stop a parent from moving if one wants to move.  You can pack up and go at any time, but taking your children with you may not be applicable.  The law in Florida is very particular about the relocation of children away from their other parent.  You cannot move further than 50 miles without the express consent of either your former spouse or the court.  Keep in mind that relocating can have a massive impact on your children, even more after a divorce.  Relocation could also impact your parental responsibilities and time-sharing rights.

As a divorced or separated parent, you will need to consider your child’s best interests when thinking of moving to a new town, state, or country.  And of course, you may need to follow some steps in other to be able to get the approval you will need to take your children with you.  Let’s start by checking:

  • Your Divorce Final Judgment: Look for any restrictions on either parent’s ability to move the children past a specified geographical limit, worked out, and set during the divorce.
  • The Law in Florida: Florida Statutes §61.13001(3) states “Relocating the child without complying with the requirements of this subsection subjects the party in violation to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child and may be taken into account by the court in any initial or post judgment action seeking a determination or modification of the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule.”

Florida law takes relocating with your children more seriously than you may have realized.  But if you are ready to start the process, you may have different routes, depending on the other party’s response:

  1. Relocating by Agreement

If both parents agree to the move, it should make moving easier.  But you still need to follow the law and file legal documents before you can even start packing.  Florida law mandates you to submit a written detailed agreement to the court for approval.  It must include the non-residential parent’s consent plus any necessary changes to the parental plan and responsibilities, and time-sharing rights. And in cases where other relative have court ordered time-sharing rights, like a grandparent or aunt, they will have to agree to the move in the document as well.

  1. Petition to Relocate

If you have discussed moving before and the other parent does not agree, you can relocate by filing a petition for relocation.  If the parties have no agreement, a petition for relocation must be filed if you plan on moving beyond 50 miles from your current residence and your relocation is for more than sixty consecutive days.  The petition for relocation must be verified, filed with the court and served on the other parent and on each person who has court ordered time-sharing rights with the minor child.  Once the other parent is served that parent will have 20 says to file a written objection with the court and serve it on the petitioning parent.  If no timely objection is filed, the relocation might be allowed if it is in the best interest of the child to relocate.  The objection must also be verified and include specific, truthful arguments supporting the reasons for trying to stop the relocation. The verified written objection should include a record of involvement the objecting party currently has or has had in the life of the child.

If you are seriously considering relocating with your child and have questions or need assistance, please call us at (954) 920-9220.

At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives.  Every situation is different, so the court may consider other factors when examining your relocation petition. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.