What to Know About Parental Relocation in Florida
Child custody and support matters are seldom simple, and can be further complicated when a custodial parent wants to make a long-distance move.
In these situations, a relocating parent either needs the consent of the non-relocating parent or a court order. In Florida, parental relocation is addressed in Florida Statute Section 61.13001 and only applies to orders entered on or after October 1, 2009. According to the statute, the need for consent depends upon both the distance and duration of the move:
- A parent who has custody and plans to move more than 50 miles away for a period longer than 60 days has to obtain the consent of the other parent
- A parent who has custody and plans to move less than 50 miles away for any period of time does not need consent from the other parent
If consent is needed, there are several ways a parent or non-parent can show consent to relocation by the other spouse:
- By written agreement (signed by both parents as well as any other individuals who have the right to access the child) filed and ratified by the court
- By ex parte court order that allows relocation of the child based on the lack of timely response of the non-relocating parent or others who have received notice of the Petition and have the right to access the child
- By court order granted after an evidentiary hearing
Most commonly, parties who are able to compromise choose the option to enter into a written agreement. Known as a Consent Order for Relocation, the agreement should be signed by both parents and filed with the court. Typically, the court must ratify the agreement before it becomes enforceable. The written agreement must contain:
- The consent and signatures of the parents
- A timesharing or access schedule for the non-relocating parent and others
- If applicable, a description of the transportation arrangement relating to timesharing
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement regarding the relocation, then an evidentiary hearing will be held and the judge will have to decide whether or not the move is in the child’s best interest. The burden of proof to show that the relocation is in the child’s best interest is on the petitioning party. If the judge determines that the relocation is in the child’s best interest, then he or she will fashion a new parenting plan taking the new, long distance between the parties into consideration. Usually, this consists of increased electronic communication between the non-relocating parent and the child, travel considerations, and a modification of the timesharing schedule.
Experienced Jacksonville custody and family lawyers
When custody issues arise, you need an experienced family law attorney by your side. When experience matters, you can depend on the legal team at Makofka & Makofka. Our Jacksonville office proudly represents residents of Duval, St. Johns, Clay & Nassau counties. For your free initial consultation, please contact our office at 904-355-2700.