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A job transfer or the opportunity of purchasing a new home are two reasons that warrant a relocation, but a child custody agreement can add several layers of complexities. There are many factors to consider when relocating, and it is important that all procedures and requirements are correctly followed to avoid jeopardizing your rights or the welfare of your child.

At Kowtko Law Group, we are here to help you avoid unplanned and unwanted consequences due to child relocation. We understand the law regarding child relocation and can work diligently to protect your rights at all stages of the legal process. Contact our Sarasota family law attorneys today to learn more.

Florida’s Relocation Statute

Section § 61.13001, Fla. Stat. (2014), called “Parental relocation with a child,” establishes the procedures involved in the relocation of a child, whether it is sought by agreement or court order. Under Florida law, a parent may not permanently relocate with a child to a location that is more than 50 miles from their original principal residence unless the other parent consents in writing to the relocation or the court officially allows the relocation. A permanent move is one that lasts more than 60 days; a long vacation is not considered a permanent relocation.

Consenting to Relocation

Before involving the court, a parent who wishes to relocate has the option to get written permission from the other parent. If all individuals agree, a new written agreement is created that acknowledges the relocation and sets a schedule for visitation. A Florida court presumes that such an agreement is in the best interests of the child and adopts the details of the new plan.

Court Approval for Relocation

If parents cannot agree on a child relocation plan, the parent wishing to relocate must file a Petition to Relocate with the Florida courts. This petition must be served on the non-relocating parent, who has 20 days to file an objection with the court. If no objection is filed, the court allows the relocation. If the parent does file an objection, the relocating parent must prove why the relocation is in the best interest of the child. Relevant factors that the court may consider include:

  • The reason for the relocation
  • Career opportunities
  • The child’s age
  • The child’s preference
  • The nature of each parent’s relationship with the child
  • Whether the relocation enhances the child’s life
  • History of substance abuse or domestic violence

After considering these factors, the court can choose to allow or deny the petition. It may also consider and adjust child support to reflect additional transportation costs incurred by the relocation. If you are currently in a child custody arrangement and are considering relocation, please contact our Sarasota family lawyers at Kowtko Law Group today.

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