What Parental Relocation means for you and where to go from here.
Parental relocation is one of the most challenging issues a parent can face in the eyes of the court. Separating a child from a parent is something the court hesitates to do unless proven to be in the best interest of the child. In Florida, the court implements a statute known as “The 50-mile Rule” which states that if a parent is attempting to move more than 50 miles away from his or her current residence for at least 60 days, they must file for relocation.
Relocation with Cooperation
Depending on the cooperation from each parent, this process can be handled in a couple of different ways. If both parents are able to come to an agreement that defines the terms of the relocation (including custody arrangements), then a formal hearing can be avoided. A written agreement, signed by both parents can be filed with the court requesting the move be approved. For the request to be granted, the agreement must include:
- A statement in which both parents agree to the relocation
- A time-sharing schedule for the non-moving parent
- A statement relaying how both parents will handle transportation during designated visitation periods
If all components are met, the court is likely to authorize the request without further action.
Relocation without Cooperation
On the other hand, if one parent is looking to relocate without the support of the other, a petition or motion must be filed with the court and served on the other parent. The petition or motion must state:
- The address and phone number of the place where the parent is looking to relocate
- The date of the relocation
- The reason behind the proposed relocation
- A proposed visitation schedule after the move
- A proposed transportation plan
Once served, the non-relocating parent has 20 days to file a response. If the non-moving parent fails to do so, the court may grant the relocating parents’ request without a hearing.
Factors for Consideration
There are a variety of factors that the court must consider when deciding on a child’s relocation with his or her parent. Above all else, the court remains focused on whether or not the move is in the child’s best interest. To determine this, the following factors are analyzed:
- The child’s relationship with both the moving and non-moving parent
- The child’s age and everyday needs
- The impact that moving may have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development
- The ability for the child and the non-moving parent to maintain their relationship
- Taking into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing between the child and non-moving parent
- Taking into consideration financial circumstances
- The child’s preference relative to their age and maturity
- The impact on the quality of life for both the moving and non-moving parent
- The reason for or against the relocation of the child
- The financial impact that the relocation will have on each parent
- Whether or not the relocation is being requested in good faith
- Whether or not the non-moving parent has fulfilled their financial obligations- child support, alimony, marital property and debt obligations
- Any history of substance abuse or domestic violence from either parent
- Any other factors affecting the best interest of the child
With these factors taken into consideration, the court must determine if parental relocation is in the best interest of the child. A hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of the filed motion, or a trial will be scheduled within 90 days.
If you or someone you know is battling parental relocation, contact Klein Law Group, a boutique law firm specializing in family law. Reach us by phone at (561) 353-2800 to schedule a free consultation.