Relocation is a change in location of the principal residence by a parent. To be officially considered relocation, the new location must be at least 50 miles from the previous residence and the duration must be for at least 60 consecutive days. Relocations do not include a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education or the provision of health care for the child.
Relocation by Agreement
If both parents agree to the relocation of the child, then they must satisfy the requirements of relocation by agreement through signing a written agreement. The written agreement must include three parts:
The first part reflects the consent to the relocation. The second section defines an access plan or time-sharing schedule for the non-relocating parent. The third part is only necessary if the parents must decide on transportation arrangements related to the access of the time-sharing.
If the parents have not entered an agreement, then the relocating parent will have to file a petition to relocate.
Petition to Relocate
A petition to relocate is filed by the relocating parent and served to the parent who is not relocating. When filling out a petition to relocate, there is specific information that must be disclosed within the document. For example, the date of the intended move to the new location and a detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed location must be included. For more details on the information needed in the petition to relocate, read Florida’s relocation statute.
So You’ve Been Served With a Petition to Relocate…
If you are served with a petition for relocation, you have the option to object. If you choose to object, then the objection must be made in writing and sent back through certified mail. Timing is a very important aspect of responding to this petition. If the served parent does not respond within 20 days then the relocation will be approved. During the relocation process, the parent who is relocating has a duty to update any information once it becomes known.
If the relocation is approved, then the court may order contact with the non-relocating parent. This may include time-sharing details and other arrangements to ensure the child has frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the non-relocating parent.
Factors That Determine Approval of Relocation
When reviewing a relocation petition, the court may consider multiple factors before making the decision to approve or deny the motion. Although each situation is unique, these are some of the factors that are often taken into consideration:
- Nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent.
- Age, developmental stage of the child, needs of the child and likely impact the relocation will have on the child.
- Feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child.
- Child’s preference, taking the age and maturity of the child into consideration.
- General quality of life for each parent.
- The reasons each parent is seeking or opposing the relocation.
- Current employment and economic circumstance of each parent.
- If the relocation is sought in good faith.
Craig Vigodsky Can Help With Parental Relocation Cases
Craig Vigodsky is an experienced lawyer in both divorce and child-related matters. If you are served with a petition of relocation or are serving someone in the hopes of relocating, contact us today! We’ll get down to the brass tacks of your case and help you achieve your ideal agreement.