Florida’s relocation statute – F. S. 61.13001 (enacted in 2006) – significantly restricts the right of the custodial parent to move away from the non-custodial parent’s residence. Before the passage of the statute, a custodial parent could practically move anywhere in Florida without court permission.
However, Florida’s legislature enacted which has redefined the term relocation as moving 50 miles or more from the residence of the other parent. Under prior case law, relocation was interpreted to mean moving outside of Florida, not within Florida. Under the new law, a parent who receives custody and wants to relocate must now file and serve a written notice upon the other parent and prove, by detailed information, why relocation should be granted. The non-custodial parent now has the right to file a written response within 30 days as well as having the right to an evidentiary hearing. The Notice of Intent to Relocate must be served upon the other parent and all other persons who have court-ordered custody and/or visitation rights. The Notice must include the following information:
* A description of the neighborhood and area.
* The address of the intended new residence.
* The phone number of the intended new residence.
* The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.
* The reasons for relocation. If one reason is based upon a written job offer, the offer must be attached.
* A proposed visitation schedule, and transportation arrangements.
It may be insufficient for a custodial parent to only prove that the desired relocation would provide her/him and the children with a support system (e.g., parents, other relatives, friends, etc.). Likewise, it may be insufficient to only prove a much better paying job awaits in the desired location.
However a combination of the above factors with any other factors (e.g., providing a substitute visitation plan including contribution toward transportation costs of the other parent) would probably be legally sufficient. If the non-custodial parent has not been an active parent, relocation would be more likely. A difficult decision for a judge is whether to permit relocation when the employer of the custodial parent or his/her new spouse requires that person to transfer to a new location. In summary, a combination of relocation factors should always be stated in detail in the required Notice of Intent to Relocate.