Can I Relocate With My Child? Part IV

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. In Part II, we detailed, more specifically, relocation by petition and what happens when a parent relocates without receiving either relocation by agreement or relocation by petition. Part II can be found here. In Part III, we detailed, another important consideration when one is seeking to relocate with their minor child or someone is looking to prevent such relocation and that is temporary relocation. Part III can be found here.

In this fourth post of the “Can I Relocate With My Child?” series, we cover the considerations of the court during a contested petition for relocation.

When a contested, or disputed, relocation action goes before the court, there are several considerations that the court MUST make when considering either granting OR denying a contested petition to relocate. But, first and foremost, Florida Statute §61.13001(7) states that there is NO presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate if the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact, access, and time-sharing with the nonrelocating parent or other person. After establishing that there will be no presumption FOR or AGAINST relocation if the relocation will materially affect the contact of the nonrelocation parent or other person, the statute then delves into the particular considerations that the court must make when deciding to grant or deny a contested petition to relocate. These factors include: “(a) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the nonrelocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.; (b) The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.; (c) The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the court; (d) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child; (e) Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking relocation with the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities; (f) The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation; (g) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child; (h) That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and martial debt obligations; (i) The career or other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs; (j) A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in Statute 741.28 or which meets the criteria of statute 39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation; (k) Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in statute 61.13.”

Later this week we’ll continue on with our multi-part series of “Can I Relocate With My Child?” by describing who has the burden of proof to prove the factors detailed above for a contested petition for relocation and what happens when a court orders relocation. Until then, keep in mind that hiring a competent Orlando family law attorney will allow much of this statutory law to be put toward you and your children’s best interest when one party considers relocation or you are the party attempting to stop relocation.

Part V coming later this week…