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Relocation has become an important and often contested part of dissolution proceedings. In our society many people have to relocate. The Florida statutes define relocation as “a change in the principal residence of a parent of at least 50 mile for at least 60 consecutive days”. This does not include temporary absence for vacation, education or the provision of health care for the child.

Both parents can agree in writing to the relocation as long as the agreement reflects their consent to the relocation and spells out a time sharing plan for the non relocating parent along with any transportation arrangements needed for visitation. You must seek ratification of the agreement by the court. There may not have to be a hearing unless one is requested. If both parents cannot agree then the statutes provide for the court to make the decision.

Florida has changed the relocation statute to eliminate the requirement that a notice of relocation be filed before a petition to relocate is filed in court. Now, in the absence of an agreement between the parents, a parent seeking relocation files a court petition immediately and must serve it on the other parent. The other parent has 20 days to file a written response to the court just as in any other court proceeding. The court then schedules a hearing.

There is no presumption for or against any relocation. The factors that a court will consider in determining whether to allow the relocation are set out in the statute 61.13001.

Failure to follow this procedure and removal of the child without permission subjects you to contempt of court and other proceedings to compel return of the child.

If you are faced with this situation I strongly recommend that you consult the attorney of your choice.

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