Florida Family Law
Child Custody and Relocation
One of the most difficult issues in family law is the relocation of a parent and minor child. Whether because of a job transfer or the remarriage of one of the parties, a parent with primary child custody may need to move. In such a case the parent may be faced with the challenge of receiving approval from the non-custodial parent if they intend to move more than 50 miles away from their current residence.
Only in recent years has Florida established strict laws concerning child custody and relocation. It wasn’t long ago when a parent could move out of state with a minor child without any issues. However in 2006 the Florida Legislature amended Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes to provide stricter guidelines for parents contemplating relocation. Many counties in Florida have since enacted local administrative rules requiring that parties involved in family law cases must not relocate more than 10 miles from their current residence or change their child’s school district without written consent or Court approval.
How Does Florida’s Relocation Statute Work?
Florida’s new relocation statute, § 61.13001, F.S., now recognizes two methods of relocation:
- Relocation by agreement
- Relocation by court order
Where the parties agree to the relocation, they (and all persons entitled to visitation with the child) must enter into a written agreement reflecting their consent for the move, defining the visitation rights of all persons involved, and where necessary, setting forth any transportation arrangements and costs. Under some circumstances this agreement must be ratified by the Court.
Where there is no written agreement, the parent seeking to relocate with the child must provide a written notice to the other parties and this notice must comply with the Florida law. If there is no objection to the written notice, the Court will enter an order permitting relocation. If another party does object, however, the statute mandates a detailed procedure which must be followed to determine whether relocation should be permitted. This includes consideration by the Court of certain statutory factors set forth in s. 61.13001(7), F.S. that determine whether relocation is in the best interests of the child.
If relocation is permitted, the Court may enter an order addressing different methods of contact the parties may arrange between the child and the non-relocating parent (including email, skype, cell phone, etc.). The existing child support award may also be addressed to adjust for any additional transportation costs that may arise.
Because a number of statutory duties and mandatory deadlines are now imposed for child custody and relocation situations, such disputes are often complex. Failing to comply with statutory mandates can result in a finding of contempt, significant financial costs and sanctions, an order by the court compelling the child’s return, and even a modification of the existing time-sharing agreement. In some cases the existing residential custody of the child may be given to the non-relocating parent.
Contact Our Family Law Attorneys For Your Child Custody And Relocation Issues!
If you are a parent considering relocation or wish to prevent the relocation of a child, it is critical that you seek advice from an experienced family law attorney as quickly as possible. The Orlando divorce attorneys at The Roberts Family Law Firm, have experience in successfully litigating child custody and relocation cases. For more information on the relocation law in Florida or to discuss how to handle the complex issues surrounding relocation in your case, call us today at (407) 426-6999 or or fill out the online form provided on this page and one of our Orlando family law attorneys will contact you as soon as possibley. With offices in downtown Orlando and Kissimmee, we serve clients throughout the Central Florida and Coastal areas. Your privacy is very importan to us and we will keep your information confidential. We offer free parking on each location.