Last week’s Part I of “Can I relocate with my child?” detailed Florida Statute §61.13001 a statute deals with “Parental relocation with a child.” In Part I, we detailed both relocation by agreement and the beginning requirements of relocation by petition. Part I can be found here.
Continuing on with our discussion of relocation by petition, after the petition is filed out with the seven (7) requirements found in the section of the statute dealing with the petition for relocation, the next step is to have the petition for relocation served on the other parent and on every other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child. Service of process can be done either in compliance with Florida’s service statutes, Chapters 48 or 49, or by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Once the other parent or other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the child is served with the petition for relocation, the deadline to respond begins. Typically, the person served with the petition for relocation has twenty (20) days to respond to the petition for relocation. If the other parent or other person entitled to access to and time-sharing with the minor child fails to respond within the time required then, the court will presume that relocation is in the best interest of the child and that the relocation with the child should be allowed and the court then will, absent a showing of good cause, enter an order that specifies that the other parent or other person with access to and time-sharing with failed to respond to the petition for relocation and then adopting the access, time-sharing, and transportation arrangements contained in the petition for relocation. This may or may not be in the best interests of the other parent or other person with access to and time-sharing with the minor child. But, if the other parent or other person with access to and time-sharing with the minor child does respond to the petition for relocation no such order shall be entered by the court until a temporary hearing is had or trial has occurred.
What happens if a parent relocates with their minor child and fails to comply with the proceeding requirements is a common question that I hear. The answer to this is conveniently spelled out within the parental relocation statute. The statute essentially states that a party that fails to comply with the petition for relocation requirements and has not received relocation by agreement but still relocates with a minor child without consent or adjudication faces a contempt hearing and other proceedings to compel the return of the child and may be taken into account by the court in any initial or postjudgment action seeking a determination or modification of the parenting plan or the access or time-sharing schedule as: “(1) a factor in making a determination regarding the relocation of a child. (2) a factor in determining whether the parenting plan or access or time-sharing schedule should be modified. (3) a basis for ordering the temporary or permanent return of the child. (4) sufficient cause to order the parent or other person seeking to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by the party objecting to the relocation. (5) sufficient cause for the award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, including interim travel expenses incident to access or time-sharing or securing the return of the child.” From this it should be clear that relocating without an agreement from the other parent or other person with access to and time-sharing with the minor child or a court order allowing relocation highly prejudices a parent seeking relocation in their future attempts at relocating and can negatively impact overall time-sharing and or access-to the minor child. Coming up later this week we’ll wrap up our discussion of parental relocation and summarize parental relocation in its entirety.
Part III coming later this week…