Child Relocation

Law Offices of Scott P. Davis, P.A.  Your Tampa Child Relocation Attorneys

There are times in life where a parent must make a difficult decision about moving. Reasons could include new employment, job transfer, educational opportunities, family support, or a new relationship.  These child relocation cases are extremely delicate matters ad require the parent to decide if the contemplated move is worthwhile and in the best interests of their child or children.

When two parents are no longer together, the law prohibits them from moving as they see fit.  Florida Statutes § 61.13001 requires the parents to agree to the move or get approval from the Court to move his or her residence by more than 50 miles.  This law has even been recently interpreted to apply to the minority time-sharing or non-relocating parent.

These cases can be especially difficult. They are emotional for the parents and one parent will often have less time with the child or children.  At the Law Offices of Scott P. Davis, P.A., our Tampa, Florida relocation attorneys will guide you through this process and fight for your right to be with your children.

Our attorneys provide experienced, thoughtful, and strategic advocacy to protect our clients’ rights and their children’s interests.  We can provide the legal assistance you need to advocate for family.

Burden of Proof

It is important to know that there is no presumption in favor or against relocation.  Parents essentially begin on equal footing.  The burden of proof that must be presented to the Court works as follows: The parent or other person wishing to relocate has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that relocation is in the best interest of the child. If that burden of proof is met, the burden shifts to the non-relocating parent or other person to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

Relocating With Your Child or Children

If you have circumstances that requires you to relocate, you need experienced attorneys to fight for your right to take your children with you. The Florida relocation statute, Florida Statutes § 61.13001, governs whether and when parent can change his or her residence if the move exceeds 50 miles.  Absent an agreement from the other parent, the Court makes its decision based on whether there is a legitimate reason to move and if the decision is in the best interests of the child.

Under the statute, the specific factors that the Court must evaluate are as follows: 

  1. The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent or other person proposing to relocate with the child and with the non-relocating parent, other persons, siblings, half-siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
  2. The age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child;
  3. The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent or other person and the child through substitute arrangements that take into consideration the logistics of contact, access, and time-sharing, as well as the financial circumstances of the parties; whether those factors are sufficient to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent or other person; and the likelihood of compliance with the substitute arrangements by the relocating parent or other person once he or she is out of the jurisdiction of the Court;
  4. The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child;
  5. Whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the parent or other person seeking the relocation and the child, including, but not limited to, financial or emotional benefits or educational opportunities;
  6. The reasons each parent or other person is seeking or opposing the relocation;
  7. The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent or other person and whether the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the economic circumstances of the parent or other person seeking relocation of the child;
  8. That the relocation is sought in good faith and the extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent or other person seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and marital property and marital debt obligations;
  9. The career and other opportunities available to the objecting parent or other person if the relocation occurs;
  10. A history of substance abuse or domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 or which meets the criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d) by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation;
  11. Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set forth in s. 61.13 (the Florida child custody statute). 

If you are seeking to relocate your child or children, or staff at the Law Offices of Scott P. Davis, P.A. help you properly prepare and present your case to the Court and articulate that the move is not only in your best interest but also in the best interests of your children.

Preventing the Relocation of your Child or Children

In addition to representing parents seeking to relocate, we also represent parents interested in preventing relocation. We understand that non-relocating parent frequently has a strong interest in making sure that their children stay close and that they continue their valuable parenting relationship and when we are on that side, we present compelling cases that it is not in the best interest of the child to relocate.

Contact us to Take Action

We will help you present your case to the court and address other issues involving child support, parenting plans, and  child custody.   Contact Law Offices of Scott P. Davis, P.A. to take action today.