Child Relocation and Objections to Relocation

The statute dealing with "relocation" is found at FS Section 61.13001. When considering moving with a child to a location outside of Florida, or even more than 50 miles away from your current residence within the state, it is important that you go through the courts to ensure that the relocation is legal. Florida has extremely strict laws that govern child relocation. The laws focus on the best interests of the child and maintaining the relationships between the child and both time sharing parents. (See Florida Statute 61.13001.)

At the office of Law Offices of James C. Campbell, P.A., we provide clients with tailored advice and representation in parent/child relocation matters. Our firm is fluent in the laws that govern these types of cases, and can effectively explain your rights and obligations.

It is important to note that if you move and do not follow the proper relocation application procedures, your situation may be prejudiced in the eyes of the court. This may make it harder for you to legally move with your child or maintain the current time sharing (child custody) arrangements.

Contact us today for more information from an experienced lawyer about child relocation, child custody and visitation matters in Okaloosa and Walton County and throughout the Florida Panhandle.

Petition to Relocate is required, and signed under oath if the parties have not entered into a written agreement.

When a Petition to Relocate is drafted, it must include a specific amount of information, including:

  • Description of the location
  • Mailing address of new residence
  • New home phone number
  • Date of proposed relocation or intended move
  • A statement detailing the reason for the relocation
  • A statement that describes how the time sharing (custody) arrangements may be executed in the future
  • The inclusion of a specifically worded notice of how to object to the relocation
  • Current address of the parent filing for relocation in case an objection is filed
  • If a job offer is the reason for relocating, that written offer must be attached to the petition.

Our office can assist you in creating the Petition to Relocate and deal with any objections to the relocation that may be filed. We have experience drafting these petitions, and can ensure that the paperwork is properly completed and filed.

Opposing the Relocation

If you have received a Petition to Relocate, you have 20 days in which to file an objection/answer in writing with the court. If the objection/answer is not made in a timely fashion, the relocation will proceed and the relocation will be deemed to be in the child's best interests. As always, the best interests of the child are at the heart of the case.

Factors the court must evaluate in the determination of a contested relocation case:

  • Nature, quality, extent of involvement and duration of a child's relationship with the parents or other persons, to include siblings, half-siblings and other significant people in the child's life.
  • Age and developmental stage of the child, the needs and likely impact of relocation on the child's physical, emotional and educational development.
  • Feasibility of preserving the relationship with the non-relocating parent through substitute arrangements and taking into consideration the logistics, access, time sharing and financial circumstances of the parties along with the likelihood of compliance with substitute arrangements by the relocating parent.
  • Child's preference, taking into consideration the child's age and maturity level.
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the quality of life for the child and the relocating parent.
  • The reason for the relocation or the reason for objecting to the relocation.
  • Current employment and economic circumstances of the parties.
  • That the relocation is sought in good faith.
  • Career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent if relocation occurs.
  • History of substance abuse, domestic violence, the severity of such acts, and the failure or success of attempts at rehabilitation.
  • Any other factor affecting the best interests of the child.

Expedited Proceedings

Relocation proceedings are entitled to an expedited hearing, unless good cause can be shown. A Temporary Hearing on the relocation issue, if requested, shall be given priority within 30 days of the filing of the action. Time is of the essence in most relocation cases, but it is the relocating parent's obligation to seek the opportunities the statute affords.

To further discuss your child relocation and child move-away issues, contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced family law attorneys.

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