Mistakes Commonly Made In Relocation Cases
After an original divorce proceeding or child custody case, it is not uncommon for a parent to seek a relocation. However, there are many details and regulations in order to obtain a proper relocation involving your minor children. Therefore, it is crucial, prior to any move, to contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney and gain advice and guidance on how to properly proceed with this process and what mistakes you should avoid.
The first mistake parents generally make in the area of relocation, is misunderstanding the law. Relocation of a minor child is discussed in Florida Statute, 61.13001. What many parents misunderstand is that relocation does not just include an out of state move, but includes “a change in the location of the principal residence of a parent or other person from his or her principal place of residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing. The change of location must be at least 50 miles from that residence, and for at least 60 consecutive days not including a temporary absence from the principal residence for purposes of vacation, education, or the provision of health care for the child.” Therefore, even if you are moving within the same state or even county, you may still need to seek approval from the court prior to your move. Determine the distance between the new residence and current residence to ensure you are within the 50 mile radius or if you need to proceed with a relocation procedure. It is important to understand this distinction as you may face penalties for failure to gain approval from the other parent or court, prior to your relocation.
The second common mistake among relocating parents is not seeking court approval. In every relocation case, the court must be notified and approve the relocation, whether or not an agreement has been reached by the parties, or the parent has already relocated for a significant amount of time. If you and your co-parent have reached an agreement as to the relocation, it must be in writing, signed, and describe the details of the relocation and changes in the parenting plan if necessary. This agreement must then be ratified by the court. If you relocate without any court approval, you may face severe contempt of court penalties and enforcement actions to return the child to the principal location.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your co-parent you may then petition the court for relocation. The petition must be served on the co-parent and include significant details and reasoning for the relocation. The third most common mistake is the failure to adequately provide appropriate reasoning and detail in this petition. Florida Statute requires the petition provide: “A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known. The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached to the petition. A proposal for the revised postrelocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the postrelocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child.” This mistake can be extremely costly, as failure to comply with these details can render the petition insufficient. Therefore, it is crucial to provide as much detail and factual basis for the relocation as possible for the court to consider. Provide details as to the familial relationships available to the child, the education ratings in the new area, or any other details regarding how the relocation will affect the best interest of the child. Further, if the relocation is due to a job, you must attach the written job offer to the petition. Finally, it is important to address the relationship between the nonrelocating parent and child and how the relocation will minimally impact this relationship as seen in the proposed parenting plane.
If you are wishing to relocate, or your co-parent has presented you with an agreement regarding their relocation contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney. They will be able to discuss with you the common mistakes to avoid during this process and how to effectively proceed with these petitions and agreements. Relocations require a great deal of expertise and attention in order to effectively conclude the case.
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