Relocation

Florida Statute 61.13001 (https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2016/61.13001) discusses the issue of relocation specifically stating that “no relocation without agreement or court order” is allowed. A parent who has court-ordered rights to maintain the child/children’s residence and wishes to relocate (meaning move more than 50 miles) cannot do so without written agreement of the other parent or a court order. The courts have also recently interpreted this to mean that the other parent, the one who exercises less timesharing, also has to have an agreement or an order before they move.

The relocation statute applies to both temporary and permanent relocations of a child or children in your case. The 50-mile rule, as it is commonly referred, applies if you intend to change the primary residential address from where it was at the time of the initial order establishing timesharing or the address during the last modification of timesharing, to a new and different address.

Relocation by agreement must be written and reflect consent to the relocation, define timesharing for the non-relocating parent to include transportation arrangements for the timesharing. After the written agreement is signed by the parties it should be filed with the court and an order ratifying the agreement should be entered.

A Petition to Relocate is required if the parties are unable to agree in writing as described above. Petitioning the court for relocation begins with the filing of said Petition, which must be verified (sworn to under oath), and the non-relocating parent must be formally served. If the non-relocating parent fails to respond or file a responsive answer to the Petition the court can approve the relocation without an evidentiary hearing. If the non-relocating parent objects to the relocation they must file a written verified Answer to the Petition within 20 days of service, and their Answer must include facts and a statement along with the objection. The Parent seeking the relocation may then proceed to a temporary hearing or trial, both of which must occur within a certain number of days. The parent may not relocate with the child until such a hearing. The court considers several statutory factors in making their decision to either grant or deny the relocation. A relocation case is very fact-specific; each one is different.

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