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What is the Florida Relocation Statute and How Does it Work?


By: Brusca Law

What Does It Mean to Relocate?


Relocation is generally defined in our Florida Statutes (Fla. Statute 61.13001) as: a move of at least fifty (50) miles (as measured as the crow flies) from the marital residence, and for at least sixty (60) consecutive days (not including a temporary absence for purposes of vacation, education, or for the health care for the child).


As the Crow Flies


You are presumably not a crow, nor do you fly, but the phrase “as the crow flies” arises in caselaw and not our state’s statute. In general, the courts in Florida have held that the general rule, in the absence of a statutory or contractual provision to the contrary, is to measure the distance between two points in the straight-line or “as the crow flies” measure. This means that the actual driving distance will not be considered by the Court in applying the definition of the relocation statute, and instead the straight-line method will be used.


Relocation in Orange, Osceola, Seminole Counties


When you file for divorce in Orange, Osceola, or Seminole County, Florida, you and your spouse will immediately upon filing be subject to standing temporary administrative orders (Orange/Osceola Administrative Order No. 2004-05-03 and Seminole County Administrative Order No.#17-17-S). These administrative orders will automatically preclude you from changing the residence of your children beyond a fifty (50) mile radius, or from the school district, or daycare, in which the marital home is currently located in without written agreement of both parties or an order of the court.


If a divorce has been filed, or an order has previously been entered as to time-sharing, the relocation request must be ratified by the court with a court order granting you permission to relocate. When the parties cannot agree on relocation, the parent wishing to relocate must notify the other parent of the proposed relocation in writing as set forth very specifically in the statute. The other parent should respond and may object to the proposed relocation by filing their response with the court directly and must object by the deadline set forth in the statute.


In order to determine whether a relocation can take place, the court will usually have a temporary hearing, a trial, or sometimes both to determine whether the relocation will be in the best interests of the child along with other factors. The court will then enter a new order governing time-sharing, including additional access, time-sharing/visitation, telephone, internet, the payment of travel costs, and other arrangements necessary to meaningful and frequent contact continues with the non-relocating parent.


Objections to Relocation


If an objection to the Petition for Relocation is filed (and it must be specific and detailed as set forth in the statute), the party wishing to relocate must obtain the court’s permission prior to relocating. Attempting to relocate without complying with the statute can subject the offending party to contempt, an order for return of the child, and other long-term consequences as determined by the court.


Brusca Law Can Help With Your Relocation


Relocations are tough on families, tough on single parents, and tough on the children. Even if you think your situation is unique, and dire, do not relocate without first speaking with an attorney who is familiar with the relocation statute. Speak with attorney Lauren Roderick Brusca, at Brusca Law, to learn more about relocation and how a relocation might impact your divorce or even post-divorce case. Call us today at 407-501-6564 or complete the form on our contact page and we will schedule your free consultation.

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