Florida Statute 61.13001(e) provides: “Relocation” means 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.
While a distance of 50 miles may not appear to be significant, it can have a marked affect on the time sharing between divorced parents. Where both parents enter into a time sharing schedule taking into consideration the travel restrictions that will be imposed given residences 50 or more miles apart there is no need for the court to decide. However, for those occasions where there is no agreement, the decision to grant or deny an application to relocate will lie with the court.
There are a number of factors that the Court must consider in granting or denying a Petition to Relocate. In a recent case, the Florida Fifth District Court of appeal reversed a trial court order permitting a Husband’s request to relocate with the parties two minor boys to New York. The basis for the reversal included the lack of competent, substantial evidence to support a finding that relocation was in the children’s best interest. Albanese v. Albanse 135 So. 3d 532, 536 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2014). The Court cited Eckert v. Eckert, 107 So.3d 1235, 1237–38 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) wherein it was determined that the trial court’s decision on a relocation request will be affirmed only if statutory findings are supported by substantial competent evidence. Competent substantial evidence must be found in the record in accordance with the criterion set forth in the statute. Muller v. Muller, 964 So.2d 732, 734–35 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007.
If circumstances arise where you believe it would be in you and your minor childrens best interest to relocate, then it is best to retain the representation of an experienced attorney to assist you with the request. For those occasions where the other parent will agree to the relocation, it remains prudent to retain an attorney to assist you throughout the process to ensure your actions are in accordance with Florida law.
Experienced Family Law Representation
There is no presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate. When it comes to relocating a child, a number of factors are considered by the court in granting or denying the request. These include:
(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 nonrelocating 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 nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through 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 nonrelocating 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 s. 741.28 or which meets the criteria of s. 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 s. 61.13.
In summary, the best interests of the child take priority.
An Advocate By Your Side
Should you find yourself in the position where relocation appears to be in the best interests of yourself and your children, you will want to have a Boca Raton family law lawyer who cares about you and your child with you every step of the way. When relocation is disputed, it is important that each of the factors set forth in Florida Statute section 61.13001 are addressed and you can ensure that the non-relocating parent can maintain a meaningful relationship.
Contact A Boca Raton Divorce Attorney
If you find it necessary to relocate more than 50 miles away from your current location along with your minor child, this is considered “relocation” under Florida Law. In this situation, then either you may reach an amicable agreement with the non-relocating parent or you can allow the court to decide. To learn more about relocation and your options, call the Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin, P.A. at 561-338-5297 to schedule a free consultation.