Under Florida law, a parent may not permanently relocate with a child to a location that is more than 50 miles from his or her original principal residence unless either (1) the other parent consents in writing to the relocation or (2) the Court officially allows the relocation. A permanent move is one that lasts more than 60 days, thus a long vacation or short-term arrangement may not be considered a permanent relocation.
Consenting to Relocation
Before involving the Florida courts in a child relocation, the parent who wishes to relocate has the option to obtain written permission from the other parent and/or any other persons entitled to time-sharing with the child. If all individuals agree, a new written time-sharing agreement will be created that acknowledges the relocation and sets a schedule for visits and transportation arrangements in light of the move. A Florida court will presume that such an agreement is in the best interests of the child and will, as standard procedure, adopt the details of the new time-sharing plan.
Court Approval for Relocation
Where parents cannot agree on a child relocation, the parent who wishes to relocate will be required to file a Petition to Relocate with the Florida courts. This petition must be served on the non-relocating parent, who has 20 days to file an objection with the court. If no objection is filed, the court will routinely allow the relocation. However, if the parent does file an objection, the relocating parent must prove why the relocation is in the best interest of the child. Relevant factors that the court may consider include:
- The reason for seeking or opposing the relocation
- Career opportunities for the parent with relocation
- The age and developmental stage of the child
- The nature of each parent’s involvement with the child
- Whether the relocation will enhance the child’s life
After considering these factors, the court can choose to allow or deny the petition for relocation. It may also consider and adjust any relevant child support awards to reflect additional transportation costs incurred by the relocation.