If you want to move or relocate with a minor child more than 50 miles away from where you lived at the time of filing the petition for dissolution of marriage or at the time of the last court order, you must file a Petition for Relocation.
Section 61.13001, Florida Statutes, establishes the procedures for a parent wishing to relocate with a minor child or children. “Relocation” for legal purposes is defined as a change in the principal residence of a parent from the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the initial action. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including temporary absences. The distance of 50 miles is not measured by driving distance, but rather by “how the crow flies” or a straight line from one residence to another.
In reaching a decision regarding whether relocation is appropriate, either temporary or permanent, the court must evaluate eleven factors provided for in Section 61.13001(7), Florida Statutes:
If the non-moving party does not want the minor child to move, they should file an objection based within the statutory timeframe. Failure to file an objection could result in a waiver, allowing the relocation of the minor child.
Filing a motion for relocation is just the first step. Once the motion is filed, a full hearing is necessary to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child or children to grant the relocation. During the hearing, the parties must present evidence regarding the above-mentioned statutory factors. The party seeking the relocation has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that relocation is in the best interest of the child or children. If that burden is met, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child or children. If the court approves relocation, the court may order contact with the non-relocating party and may specify how transportation costs are to be allocated.
The most important point to remember is that you must comply with the terms of the statute if you want to move or relocate with a minor child more than 50 miles away from where you lived at the time of filing the petition for dissolution of marriage or at the time of the last court order. Failure to comply could have drastic consequences.