In the State of Florida, if a parent wants to relocate with his/her child, certain steps must be followed. “Relocation” means a change in location of your primary residence that is at least 50 miles away, and for at least 60 consecutive days – this could be within the state of Florida or in another state. (Note: this does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.)
In order to relocate with your child, you will be required to file a “Petition to Relocate with a Child” in your pending divorce proceeding, or if your case had already been finalized, you have to reopen your divorce case and file the Petition. The Petition must be served upon the other parent, and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child. The Petition must include the following information:
1. A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.
2. The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.
3. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
4. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the child. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer which has been out into writing, that written job offer must be attached to the petition.
6. A proposal for the revised post-relocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the post-relocation transportation arrangements necessary for the time-sharing with the child to take place.
7. The following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type-face in the rest of your petition: “A RESPONSE TO THE PETITION OBJECTING TO RELOCATION MUST BE MADE IN WRITING, FILED WITH THE COURT, AND SERVED ON THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON SEEKING TO RELOCATE WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS PETITION TO RELOCATE. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO THE RELOCATION, THE RELOCATION WILL BE ALLOWED, UNLESS IT ISNOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING."
If the other parent or anyone else entitled to access or time-sharing files a response objecting to the petition to relocate, the judge will hold a hearing or trial where you will have to convince the judge that it is in the child’s best interests to relocate and you will have to get permission from the court before you can relocate. If the other parent does NOT file a response objecting to the petition, you will still have to get an Order from the Judge.
Please do not relocate with your children without court permission. The ramifications are overwhelmingly negative for your situation. Also note that each county has its own rules regarding relocation. For example, the Miami-Dade County Status Quo Order does not allow the parents to remove the children from the county during the proceedings.
A Petition for Relocation is a difficult process and should not be handled without the assistance of an attorney. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Vanessa D. Torres, Esq.