Recent Relocation Decisions

A parent has well founded right to have timesharing with her or his child. This is the main reason Florida family law provides that a parent who wants to relocate more than 50 miles from their current residence must obtain either the other parents permission or the permission of the court. Whether to permit a parent to relocate with the minor child is a difficult decision for the court to make. Although the factors the court should consider in deciding whether a parent can relocate are set forth in the Florida Statutes, it can be difficult to predict whether the court will permit relocation in any particular case. For guidance, it can be helpful to look to actual cases that have been decided. Here are a couple of recent cases.

The Circuit Court for Dade County recently permitted the mother of a 10 year old daughter to move to California over the objections of the father. The mother's new husband was in the United States Coast Guard and had been reassigned to a station in California. The mother was not working as the parties had agreed that she would be a stay at home mom. The court referred to the nice home in California where the mother and child lived. In reviewing the factors, the court mentioned the close relationship between the mother and the child and the mother's offer to pay all of the travel expenses for the child to visit the father. The court stated that the relocation would enhance the general quality of life for the mother because her husband would be able to support her while she stayed at home. The court said that it was an extremely difficult decision but stated that the mother had met her burden of showing that the relocation was in the best interest of the child.

The Circuit Court for Orange County, in deciding a dissolution of marriage case, permitted a mother to relocate to the United Kingdom with her 7 year old daughter. Both the mother and the father were from the United Kingdom and both of them had family there. The parties were married in the United Kingdom. They had moved to Canada where they were both employed and earned roughly the same incomes. The father had received a Job offer in Orlando and a visa that allowed him to work in the United States. The mother however was not able to obtain a work visa for the United States and decided to return to the United Kingdom with the child. The father then filed for divorce in Orange County. The court first ordered the return of the child to Florida, but then permitted the mother to relocate to the United Kingdom on a temporary basis and finally on a permanent basis. In reviewing the factors the court stated that the child had adapted well in her new school, that she was involved in horseback riding and in activities involving the families of both the mother and the father.

If you are considering relocation, you should consult with your Family Law attorney to see how the facts of these cases might apply to your circumstance.