Understanding the Florida Relocation Statute

Understanding the Florida Relocation Statute

After divorce, your goal is to move on with your life. But what if your personal or career goals affect your time-sharing arrangement with your former spouse?

Imagine that you’ve gotten a promotion at work- one that includes a substantial salary increase and excellent benefits. Or maybe you’ve remarried and your new spouse’s employer wants them to move to Texas to head a new office there. 

Now imagine telling your former spouse that you want to relocate with your child so that she can benefit from the better schools and opportunities that a higher household income brings. Your ex, however, is adamant that you aren’t taking her anywhere. What can you do?

Relocating with children after divorce
In Florida, any divorced parent who wants to relocate must understand the Florida Relocation Statute before actively planning to move. 

If you intend to move your child more than 50 miles away from where you are currently living, you must have an agreement between the parties or obtain permission from the court and show that the move is in the best interests of the child. 

You may not have to go through a full court proceeding, however, if you and the other parent sign a written agreement that includes a new time-sharing schedule and addresses transportation details for each visit. This signed document can be filed with the court for approval. 

However, if the other parent opposes the move, they may respond within 20 days of receiving the Petition for Relocation by process service and present compelling reasons why it’s better for the child to remain in her current place of residence. The court will listen to both sides before making a decision it believes to be in the best interests of the child.

When will the court grant a petition for relocation?
When deciding whether to approve a petition for location, Florida courts evaluate a number of factors that include:

• The age and needs of the child

• The child’s relationship with each parent

• The child’s ability to maintain a quality relationship with the parent who is not relocating

• What benefits the move would represent for the child, such as better schools or healthcare opportunities

• The child’s preference, although the degree of consideration will vary according to age

• Whether the other parent objects to the move and, if so, the reason

• Whether the petition was filed in good faith and is not an attempt to get the child from the other parent

• Any history of substance abuse or domestic violence

As a rule, courts prefer arrangements that give children quality time with both parents. When a relocation affects the child’s ability to regularly see and interact with their other parent, you need a Florida family law attorney who can help you present the strongest possible case for the move and recommend ways that the child can maintain a strong connection with the other parent.

Relocating after divorce can present legal as well as personal challenges when you have children. At the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise, P.A., we have helped many parents in your situation and will work diligently to develop a realistic solution so you can move forward. For more information or to schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us at wiselawoffice.com