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What is the Florida child relocation law?

When a marriage ends, there are many issues that require sorting out. They aren't always contentious but do need careful consideration and planning. One of the most critical issues for couples often relates to child custody. Parenting plans are put in place after careful evaluation of the family circumstances combined with a child's best interests. But even the best laid plans may need to be revisited as time goes on.

Florida statutes address one of these issues. The child relocation law requires a custodial parent notify the noncustodial parent if he or she is considering moving more than 50 miles away. A Notice of Intent to Relocate form must be sent to the other parent and filed with the court. It will include specific information such as a description of the new residence and its location, including the street and mailing address if known. The residence phone number and intended moving date are listed.

The notice provides a detailed statement of the specific reasons the custodial parent is moving, with proper documentation attached if applicable. In other words, if the move is because of a job offer, that written offer will be added to the filing. The custodial parent must propose a revised visitation schedule and transportation arrangements to avoid having the request dismissed by the court. This doesn't apply if there is an order restricting visitation or otherwise affecting the noncustodial parent's interaction with the child. If child support modification is needed because of a change in transportation costs, the court will consider it as part of the notice.

The non-custodial parent has a right to object to the proposed relocation, in writing, within 30 days after he or she receives the notice. The notice will contain specifically worded objection information and must also specify the proper mailing address at which the relocating parent can receive service of the objection. Proof that the Notice of Intent to Relocate was served on the noncustodial parent must be attached. The notice form must be signed under oath. Penalties of perjury will apply to any misrepresentations. The relocating parent is responsible to update the notice with additional information as it becomes available via a supplemental notice form.

An objection triggers a hearing; otherwise, after expiration of 30 days, a motion is filed requesting the court to ratify the relocation. Relocating in such a manner can be more complex that custodial parents realize; any change in a child custody situation may require legal action through the court.

Source: The 2014 Florida Statutes, "Chapter 61 Parental relocation with a child," accessed April. 28, 2015

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