Often after a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule have been approved and ordered by the court or when there is an action with minor children pending in the court, one parent brings up the idea of relocating with the minor child. In the state of Florida, the address of the minor child is established in the parenting plan and neither parent can relocate with the child unless certain criteria are met. If a parent relocates with the minor child without going through the proper legal channels, the court will impose serious sanctions against that parent. That parent even runs the risk of losing custody of the minor child.
For a move to be considered a relocate, it has to be more than 50 miles away and for at least 60 consecutive days (or permanent). Florida has its own relocation statute that sets out the two options that a parent wanting to relocate has. The first option does not require much involvement of the court. The parents can agree to the relocation. The agreement must be in writing and contain certain required legal terms regarding the relocation. When the parents have that written agreement, they submit it to the court for approval. This last part is important because it will prevent the non-relocating parent from claiming that the relocating parent has kidnapped the child in the future.
The second option gives the parents less control of the situation because it requires the court to make the decision for them. If the parents cannot agree to the relocation, the parent wanting to relocate must petition the court for relocate. The statute is very particular in what this petition must contain, how it should be delivered to the non-relocating parent, what language and terms should be in it, among many other requirements.
Relocation is not as simple as just moving. It can become a complicated process when the parents don’t agree. Whether you are the parent looking to relocate or being asked to agree to relocation, Smith & Eulo Law Firm can help you understand the procedures required to relocate.