Relocation with a minor child is governed by Section 61.13001, Florida Statutes. Essentially, in order for a “custodial” parent (or parent having the subject child(ren) 50% or more of the time) to move more than fifty miles away from that parent’s (and concomitantly the child(ren)’s) place of principal residence, the parties must agree to such or the court must grant permission for the relocation and move. The parent seeking to relocate must file a petition with the court requesting the relocation and explain in great detail the reasons for the relocation, that the relocation is not being sought to deprive the other parent of timesharing with the child(ren) and that the move will be in the best interests of the minor child(ren). The court will consider numerous factors delineated in the statute and applicable case law. A parent relocating without the permission of the court, either by way of a permanent order allowing the relocation or pursuant to a temporary order allowing the relocation, is subject to certain sanctions which are provided for in the statute. There is no presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate with a minor child(ren).
The public policy of Florida is for both parents of a child(ren) to have frequent and continuing timesharing with their child(ren). Clearly, relocation by one parent with a child(ren) will run contrary to such public policy and therefore a parent requesting relocation must typically show and prove that “substitute timesharing” will be adequate to foster the continuing timesharing and love and affection by the other parent with the child(ren). It is difficult but not impossible to prove. Typical situations resulting in relocations are where the “custodial” parent has remarried and he or she or his or her new spouse has been compelled to relocate to a place greater than fifty miles for employment reasons, where the “non-custodial” parent is not exercising his or her timesharing and the “custodial” parent needs the help and assistance of his or her family and relatives to care for the child(ren) and needs to relocate in order to have such familial support and assistance, among many other circumstances. Of course, every case is different and needs to be reviewed and determined based on its own facts and circumstances.