One of the key elements of a dissolution of marriage, or divorce, is the establishment of a parenting plan for all minor children of the marriage, including details on residence and time-sharing arrangements. In today’s tough economy, either parent may find it necessary to relocate for job opportunities, a new romantic relationship, or other reason. To relocate with a minor child, however, a parent must receive the other parent’s agreement or have a court order to this effect.
What qualifies as a “relocation”?
Florida law defines relocation as a change in the principal place of residence of a parent or other person indicated on the parenting plan since the time of the last court-issued order regarding time-sharing arrangements. To qualify as a relocation, the change of residence must be at least 50 miles from the present residence and must be planned for a period of at least 60 consecutive days. A temporary absence from the principal residence to seek medical care, go on vacation, or for educational purposes does not qualify as a relocation.
Petitioning for relocation in Florida
There are strict procedures in place and factors for a court to consider for legally relocating with your child in Florida. If both parents and every person entitled to spend time with the child under the time-sharing arrangement agrees to the proposed relocation, they may sign a written agreement to this effect, including details regarding the new time-sharing arrangements, communication methods and travel details. If these parties fail to reach agreement, the parent wishing to relocate must file a petition to get the court’s approval for the relocation. The petition must include:
- A description of the new intended residence, including mailing address and telephone number
- Date of the proposed relocation
- Reason for the request
- Proposal for new time-sharing arrangements
The petition is then served on the other affected parties and they receive an opportunity to object to the petition. The court will then decide whether to grant the relocation.
Relocating without getting either the court’s approval or the other parent’s consent can result in criminal proceedings for child abduction. A Florida relocation lawyer can assist you in properly filing a petition for relocating with your child.