Knowledgeable Guidance for Parental Relocation
Moving with children is a difficult decision for most parents. It is even more challenging for divorced couples or unmarried fathers with minor children. Divorced and unmarried parents often want to relocate for extended family support, career transfers, better opportunities, or a fresh start. Relocation is complex when parents have shared custody, especially if one parent is not in agreement.
If you are seeking relocation or are engaged in a relocation dispute involving a child, The Davies Law Firm, LLC, can help. Attorney Kathleen Davies has over thirty-five years of family and criminal law experience. She has successfully negotiated and litigated countless parental relocation cases. Whatever side you are on, you can count on quality and compassionate legal representation. At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, your child’s best interests always take priority.
Florida Laws for Parental Relocation
Under Florida Statute 61.13001 for parental relocation with a child, a legal action is mandatory for a move more than fifty miles away from the address in the final judgment or the last court-ordered modification. It does not include a temporary absence from the residence for a parent or child’s vacation, education, or health care. The parent seeking to relocate has the burden of proving the move is in the child’s best interests.
Relocation With or Without Consent
When both parents consent to a move, they must file a petition to relocate with a proposed parenting plan modification for the court’s approval. Relocation also impacts child support payments, as a child’s number of overnight visits and other expenses will change. With a background in Collaborative Law, Attorney Kathleen Davies, can assist parents with negotiating an agreement to meet the parent’s and the child’s needs. A petition filed with the court must include the location of the intended new residence, the mailing address, telephone number, date of the proposed relocation, and a detailed statement listing the reason for the move.
Disputing a Move
The non-relocating parent must be served when a petition is filed. That parent has 20 days after receiving a notice of intent to relocate to file a written objection with the court. If an objection is not filed within that time, it is presumed that both parents consent to the move. When an objection is filed within 20 days with evidence supporting a prohibition of the relocation, the parent requesting to move must obtain the court’s permission to move forward with the relocation.
Relocation Without Court Approval Has Legal Consequences
At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, our best and most emphatic advice is to not move away with your child without advising the other parent and obtaining an order from the court. A failure to notify is a clear violation of Florida law and can be viewed as contempt of court or parental kidnapping. The court may compel the child’s return to the non-relocating parent in these cases. That harms your chances of getting approval to relocate with your child and could limit or terminate parental rights for shared custody.
The Court Considers Many Factors when Ruling on a Proposed Relocation:
- The parent’s reasons for and against the relocation such as health, economic or other interests impacting the family
- The plan to coordinate visitation
- The expense and difficulty of traveling for the child for visitation
- The child’s age, developmental stage, and needs
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The child’s preference, taking into account their age and maturity level
- How the move will impact the financial stability of the family
- The feasibility of a child maintaining a relationship with the other parent
- Whether child support, spousal support, marital property, and marital debt obligations are fulfilled
- Whether the move is in the best interest of the child
Contact The Davies Law Firm, LLC, When it Matters Most
Parental relocation changes the family structure and can benefit or disrupt a child’s life. Either parent may seek to modify the parenting plan or child support orders to accommodate a move when it is established to be in the child’s best interest.
At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, we can help your family work through a parental relocation case with as little conflict as possible. Contact us to answer your questions during a Free Consultation. Call 855-688-4713 to schedule an appointment at our Cocoa, Florida office. We represent clients in Brevard, Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Counties.