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The Common Pitfalls of Petitions for Relocation in Florida

In Florida, if a parent wishes to relocate more than 50 miles with a minor child, the parent must petition the court to permit the relocation. Section 61.13001(3), Florida Statutes, provides strict procedural requirements that must be followed for a parent to proceed with a relocation claim. Prior to hearing testimony as to whether relocation is appropriate, the trial court must first look at Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes to determine if the petition is legally sufficient. In the event that the parent fails to strictly comply with these procedural requirements, his or her petition to relocate will be denied on its face and without the opportunity for testimony to be presented.

The parent seeking to relocate must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent, the pleadings must be in accordance with section 61.13001(3), the petition to relocate must be signed under oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury, the petition must include an enumerated list of information as well as contain a notice statement, set out in bold capital letters, and concerning how a response to the petition objecting to relocation must appear and on whom it must be served, and the petition to relocate must be served on the other parent and on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child. § 61.13001(3)(a) & (b), Fla. Stat. (2009) (emphasis added). Wing v. D’Arcio Wing, 129 So. 3d 1116, 1117 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013). Further, section 61.13001(3) provides that the petition to relocate must include a proposal for the revised post relocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the post relocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child. § 61.13001(3). Failure to include this information renders the petition legally insufficient.

Florida courts have held that substantial compliance with the requirements of section 61.13001(3) is not sufficient. Strict compliance is required. Whether you are petitioning for relocation or defending against it, it is important to carefully review the petition to see if it complies with the strict requirements of 61.13001(3). If it does not, the petition may be legally insufficient and the request for relocation must be denied on its face prior to any hearing or trial.