Brunelli Law

Relocating with Minor Children in Florida

Explore the essentials of relocating with minor children in Florida. Get expert legal insights on navigating custody laws and the importance of professional guidance.
@admin 17 April 2024
Relocation with Children

Navigating the legal intricacies of relocating with minor children in Florida, particularly after a divorce or paternity action, is an area that requires careful consideration and legal know-how. Throughout my many years of legal experience, I have guided many parents through this process, and I’d like to share some deeper insights into what it entails under Florida law.

Understanding Florida’s Relocation Laws

Florida’s child custody law (Florida Statute 61.13001) requires a parent to obtain approval before moving more than 50 miles from their current residence. This requirement is strict and not merely procedural, and is intended to protect the rights of both parents and the welfare of the child. In my practice, I’ve seen cases where overlooking this requirement led to significant legal challenges, including the court subjecting the non-compliant parent to contempt and other proceedings to compel the return of the child.

The Necessity of Filing for Relocation

If you are already bound by a child custody or paternity ruling, filing a petition for relocation becomes mandatory. This is especially true once a parenting plan is in place in Florida. Even if a parenting plan or paternity order wasn’t previously issued, it is often prudent to file for relocation. Doing so can preclude potential legal challenges from the other parent, which might arise following an unapproved move.

Avoiding Self-Help Measures in Relocation

One of the key pieces of advice I offer clients is to avoid taking matters into their own hands. Moving outside the fifty-mile radius without securing the necessary court approval or court order can lead to violations of your parenting plan. This, in turn, can result in legal implications regarding your custody rights and responsibilities and can adversely affect the other parent’s visitation rights.

Consent and Relocation Agreements

In an ideal scenario, both parents would amicably agree to the relocation terms. This agreement needs to be detailed, in writing, outlining the parenting plan after the relocation, and must be ratified by a family law judge. In my experience, ensuring that all parties involved, including those entitled to time-sharing, consent to the terms can facilitate a smoother relocation process.

Handling Cases Where the Other Parent Objects

When the other parent does not consent to the relocation, the situation becomes more complex. In such cases, you must file a petition for relocation and serve a copy to the other parent. The court will then decide on the relocation, often necessitating a hearing or trial. It is essential to have a well-founded objection that includes factual reasons for denial and an outline of the non-relocating parent’s involvement with the child.

Preparing Long-Distance Parenting Plans

Relocating more than 50 miles from the principal residence typically necessitates a long-distance parenting plan. If an existing parenting plan is in place, filing for relocation must be done without delay. This plan should address how timesharing will be managed considering the increased distance. For instance, there will be the matter of transportation and travel costs associated with visitation after a move. This can also affect child support which may be adjusted to accommodate these additional costs.

Strategies for Winning a Relocation Case

In cases where there is an objection to the relocation, the burden of proof falls on the relocating parent to demonstrate that the move is in the child’s best interest. The court will consider a variety of factors, including the child’s maturity level, the potential for improved quality of life, and the impact on the child’s physical, emotional, and educational development, as well as if the child will be nearer extended family, such as grandparents.

The Importance of Legal Assistance

The complexities of relocation cases, especially when they involve objections or court trials, truly highlight the need for skilled legal representation. For parents in Florida considering relocating with minor children, navigating and adhering to the legal requirements is crucial. If you find yourself facing such a situation, remember that having an experienced legal counsel by your side can significantly ease the process. At Brunelli Law P.A., we understand these challenges and are here to offer the support and guidance you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us immediately if you require assistance. To schedule a consultation and discuss your case further, click this booking link. We’re here to help you navigate these complex waters with confidence and clarity.

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