Not So Fast - The Wrong Way to Relocate from Florida with a Child

Florida Statutes 61.13001 outlines the steps needed for one parent to relocate from Florida with a minor child. Because of the large change to all involved, this statue has specific steps and deadlines that must be followed, in order to remove a child from Florida. The first option is to reach an agreement with the other parent regarding the move. If the parties are able to reach an agreement there are four things that must be included in such an agreement: 1) the agreement must be in writing; 2) the agreement must reflect consent to the relocation; 3) the agreement must outline the timesharing that will occur after the relocation, and; 4) the agreement must outline any travel arrangements.

Shiba v. Gabay, 120 So.3d 80, (2013 4th DCA), is a case that did not deal with an agreement to move, but rather one party moving without consent of the other. In this case, the mother relocated with the minor child to Illinois, and claimed that the father abused both her and the child.

The Florida trial court then, after some debate about where the case should be held (Florida or Illinois), held a temporary hearing, and ruled that the child should be returned to Florida. The mother appealed this result, claiming that the court ruled without hearing testimony from witnesses in Illinois. This case illustrates the fact that the process of relocating from a Florida residence with a minor child, to a place more than 50 miles from the original residence, is a process that is highly technical, with strict deadlines that must be followed.

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