Friday, April 8, 2011

Trying to Relocate with your children? Here are some things you should know.

If you are seeking to relocate with a minor child there are several rules that you should consider. According to Florida Statute 61.13001(1)(e), relocation "means 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."  In essence, this means that if you are seeking to move with your children, and there is a pending or closed case which already decided timesharing matters, you must comply with the relocation statute.  There are two ways which you may do so.  First, if the parents both agree to the relocation, they can enter into a written agreement which provides three key elements: (1) the parent who is not relocating gives express consent; (2) the agreement contains a timesharing schedule to be used after the relocation; and (3) the agreement addresses travel expenses to be paid by the parties.  The second option comes into play when the party who is not moving refuses to consent to the move.  In this case, the parent seeking relocation must file a document called a Petition to Relocate.  This Petition to Relocate must contain the following elements:
1.  A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.
2.  The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.
3.  The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.
4.  The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
5.  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.
6.  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. Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.
7.  Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type in the remainder of the petition:
A RESPONSE TO THE PETITION OBJECTING TO RELOCATION MUST BE MADE IN WRITING, FILED WITH THE COURT, AND SERVED ON THE PARENT OR OTHER PERSON SEEKING TO RELOCATE WITHIN 20 DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS PETITION TO RELOCATE. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO THE RELOCATION, THE RELOCATION WILL BE ALLOWED, UNLESS IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING.
This Petition to Relocate must be personally served on the other party if your case has already been closed.  If the case is open, service can usually be obtained through certified mail.  If the other party objects appropriately, the Court will have to ultimately decide whether to grant the relocation.

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