Navigating Parental Relocations in Florida: Understanding the Legal Process and Its Impact on Family Dynamics

Posted by John Schaller | Oct 13, 2023 | 0 Comments


Parental relocation is a common issue in family law, as parents may seek to move for various reasons, such as employment, remarriage, or to be closer to family support. While such decisions can have a significant impact on family dynamics, especially in cases involving minor children, it's crucial to understand the legal process surrounding parental relocations in Florida and the factors courts consider in these cases.

In this educational guide, we will focus on the legal aspects of parental relocations in Florida, touching upon the necessary procedures and key factors that can influence the outcome. We will also discuss the importance of having an experienced family law attorney by your side to guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Schaller Law is based in Marion County, Florida, and specializes in providing comprehensive legal representation in a range of criminal defense and family law matters, including parental relocations. Our goal with this guide is to equip you with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions throughout your case and ensure the stability and well-being of your family.

Parental relocation cases can present unique challenges, as they involve balancing the needs and preferences of the relocating parent with the best interests of the child and the parenting rights of the non-relocating parent. By understanding the legal process and working with skilled representation, you can be better prepared to tackle these complexities and foster a positive outcome for your family.

Understanding Florida's Parental Relocation Statutes

In Florida, a relocating parent who wishes to move more than 50 miles away from their current residence for at least 60 days (excluding temporary absences for vacations or education) must go through a specified legal process. This process may involve obtaining the consent of the other parent or seeking the court's permission. Florida Statutes Section 61.13001 outlines the relevant legal requirements and procedures for parental relocation cases.

There are two primary methods of pursuing parental relocation in Florida:

  1. Written Agreement: If both parents and any individuals entitled to visitation rights agree to the relocation, they can sign a written agreement that outlines the terms, including any modifications to the time-sharing schedule and any transportation arrangements necessary for visitation.
  2. Petition for Relocation: If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the relocating parent must file a petition to request the court's permission for the move. This petition must include specific information, such as the relocation address, reasons for relocation, and a proposed revised time-sharing plan.

The non-relocating parent has the right to object to the proposed relocation, in which case the court will determine whether to grant or deny the request based on the best interests of the child.

Factors Courts Consider When Evaluating Parental Relocation Requests

When evaluating a parental relocation request, Florida courts weigh several factors to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests. Some of these factors include:

  1. The Child's Relationship with Both Parents: The court will consider the bond between the child and both parents, as well as any siblings or other significant individuals in the child's life.
  2. The Impact of the Relocation on the Child's Development: The court will look at the potential impact on the child's education, social development, and emotional well-being.
  3. The Child's Preference: Depending on the child's age and maturity, the court may consider their preference for or against relocation.
  4. The Motives of the Parents: The court may assess the motives behind the relocation request and any objections to ensure they are in the child's best interests and not aimed at facilitating or hindering the other parent's relationship with the child.
  5. Employment and Economic Factors: The court will consider the potential benefits of the move on the relocating parent's career and financial stability.
  6. The Feasibility of Preserving the Relationship between the Non-relocating Parent and the Child: The court will evaluate the proposed revised time-sharing plan and assess whether it allows for a meaningful relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child.
  7. Any History of Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, or Child Abuse: The presence of any such history by either parent can influence the court's decision when considering relocation requests.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Parental Relocation Cases

Due to the complex nature of parental relocation cases, having an experienced family law attorney by your side is crucial. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the legal process, understand your rights, and advocate for your interests to achieve the most favorable outcome for your family. Here's how an attorney can assist in your case:

  1. Filing or Responding to a Petition: Your attorney can help you prepare and file a petition for relocation or respond to a petition filed by the other parent.
  2. Negotiating Agreements: In cases where both parents can resolve the matter amicably, your attorney can help negotiate the terms of a written agreement and ensure it is compliant with Florida law.
  3. Gathering Evidence and Witnesses: Your attorney can collect the necessary evidence and enlist expert witnesses to support your case in court.
  4. Presenting Your Case in Court: A skilled family law attorney will effectively present your case in court, ensuring that your arguments are persuasive and well-grounded in the law.

Tips for Effective Co-Parenting After Parental Relocation

Parental relocation often presents new challenges to co-parenting, but with conscious efforts and open communication, parents can maintain stability and a positive relationship with their child. Consider these tips for effective co-parenting after a relocation:

  1. Establish a Consistent Communication Plan: Regular contact through phone, video calls, or messages can help maintain parent-child relationships and keep the non-relocating parent involved in the child's life.
  2. Remain Flexible: Be open to adjusting time-sharing schedules to accommodate changing circumstances or special occasions.
  3. Promote the Child's Relationship with Both Parents: Encourage your child to maintain a positive relationship with the other parent and support them in adapting to the new living arrangement.

Trust Schaller Law to Represent Your Interests in Parental Relocation Cases

Understanding the legal process surrounding parental relocation and the factors courts consider when determining the outcome is crucial for protecting your rights and the well-being of your family. Schaller Law, based in Marion County, Florida, is dedicated to providing clients with experienced representation in family law matters, including parental relocation cases.

Our skilled legal team can guide you through the complexities of the relocation process and provide the support you need to make informed decisions for your family's future. If you need assistance with a parental relocation case or any other family law matter, don't hesitate to contact Schaller Law to discuss your situation and receive the legal guidance and representation you deserve.

About the Author

John Schaller

Las Vegas, NV and Marion County, FL divorce and family law attorney John Schaller grew up in the southeast, then worked in the New York area for nearly two decades before relocating to Nevada in 2008.  John is an active member of the NV and FL bars.


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