Filing for relocation with minor children is complicated and oftentimes more contentious than a custody battle during a divorce. In a divorce, typically both parents will live fairly close to each other. Relocation, on the other hand, is a drastic change, which is considered changing the address residence of a child from the child’s current address to a residence more than 50 miles away, requires a court order if the parents cannot agree.
When a temporary relocation is requested, Florida courts will hear the case within thirty days of the request. It is advisable to hire a family law attorney to help you with all relocation actions and to hire that attorney months before you plan on moving and to hire an attorney right away after being served with a petition for relocation.
Factors Considered by Florida Family Law Courts in Relocation Cases
At relocation hearings, Florida judges consider the following factors:
- The reasons each parent or other person is seeking the relocation.
- The reasons behind the objections to the relocation by the non-moving parent.
- The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
- The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the minor child’s relationship with the parent or other person requesting the relocation with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other significant persons in the child’s life.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Relocation of Minor Child When the Other Parent Agrees
If the moving parent and the non-moving parent agree the parties satisfy the requirements of Florida Law regarding relocation by signing an agreement that, includes the following terms and language:
- A very clear consent to the relocation by the non-moving parent.
- A time-sharing schedule for the parent not moving, which sets out the visitation or time-sharing terms. The agreement should also very clearly spell out times that the non-relocating parent may communicate with his or her child. For instance, nightly between 6 pm – 9 pm by telephone, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. It should also state when the minor child shall have his or her cell phone to call the other parent.
- Describes clearly any transportation arrangements related to the move and the time-sharing schedule. For instance, if a father requests relocation to Chicago from South Florida, some of the typical terms are: Who makes the flight arrangements? When are the arrangements made? When are the itineraries shared? Who pays for the airline tickets? Are the flights direct, nonstop flights only? What age may the child fly unaccompanied by an adult? What airports should be used?
Filing for relocation with minor children is complicated. The result is either that one parent may not move with their child(ren), or that a child(ren) will move away from a parent. The implications one way or the other are serious. The divorce and family law attorneys at Van Riper and Nies Attorneys, P.A. are known for taking their jobs seriously, for their preparation, and for their trials skills. The law firm has offices in West Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Stuart, Florida.