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Can I move to another city or state with my children?

Florida Statutes §61.13001 lists the factors a court considers when determining if one parent can move more than 50 miles from their current residence.  The factors for a court to consider include the following:

(7) NO PRESUMPTION; FACTORS TO DETERMINE CONTESTED RELOCATION.—A presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate with the child does not arise if a parent or other person seeks to relocate and the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact, access, and time-sharing with the non-relocating parent or other person. In reaching its decision regarding a proposed temporary or permanent relocation, the court shall evaluate all of the following:

(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the non-relocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.

(b) The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.

(c) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent or other person and the child through Relocation
substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent or other person; and the likelihood
of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court.

(d) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

(e) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities.

(f) The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation.

(g) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child.

(h) That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations.

(i) The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs.

(j) A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in §741.28 or which meets the criteria of §39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.

(k) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in §61.13.

 

Question that often arise are:

What facts and circumstances warrant a relocation?  What are some facts where the Court has denied a relocation?

Kelly R. McNeal can meet with you to discuss answers to these questions and the specific facts of your case to determine if relocation is a feasible option for you and your family.

Photos in this blog are courtesy of: wikimedia.org

Child relocation

They’re my children, can’t I just move with them?

Well…maybe. Florida statutes §61.13001 describes what a parent must do to relocate from their current residence with their child (assuming, of course, one parent is relocating and the other parent is staying in the same city/town/county).

The statute 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. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.”
Child Relocation
Of course, the parties can agree on a new-time sharing schedule if one parent is relocating. If the parties come to an agreement, it should be in writing. The statute provides: “the parties shall seek ratification of the agreement by court order without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing.”

If the parties don’t agree, “a parent or other person seeking relocation must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent, and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child.” This begins the full blown battle over where the children should reside. The Court then considers whether the relocation is in the children’s best interest.

Noteworthy, the statute contains the following provision: “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.”

I have seen relocation cases where one parent obtains a new job or transfer, and the other parent, though divorced, moves to the new location with the first parent and children. I have also seen relocation cases where one parent decides to move with the children, and never complies with the provisions of this statute. In any case, it is important to consult with a lawyer regarding your obligations under this statute and work toward a resolution that is best for your children and family.