Co-Parent guidelines: Child relocation during PCS

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

For military members with children in Florida, a Permanent Change of Station may present some legal issues relocating a child between two unmarried parents if one of the child’s parents will not be moving to the new location.

 

Concerns regarding the relocation of a child are common for those who are unmarried and co-parent. The reason is, under Florida law a person who wishes to relocate a child more than 50 miles for a minimum of 60 consecutive days must get the consent of the other parent or person with time-sharing rights, by agreement in writing or petition the court for relocation permission. Military orders do not wave these requirements for service members preparing for a move.

 

Does this apply to me if I have primary custody?
Yes, this applies to any parent wishing to relocate, regardless of whether or not they are the primary custodian.  

 

How does the court decide if they will allow the relocation of my child?
The parent requesting the relocation has the burden to prove that it is in the best interest of the child to relocate with them. Once the parent that is moving proves it is better for the child to relocate, then the non-relocating parent has an opportunity to prove otherwise.

How do I begin the process to get permission to relocate my child?
First, you can notify the other party and ask them to consent to the relocation. If they consent, absent an existing court order regarding time-sharing, you can capture the agreement in writing and have it notarized. If you relocate the child without a signed agreement and the other party files a motion, which is a formal written request to the court asking for the return of the child, the court may order you to move back until they make a decision. This process can be costly and time consuming.

The agreement for relocation of a child must contain a parenting plan with a time-sharing schedule. If there is an existing agreement or court order regarding time-sharing, then you must fill out an Agreement Petition Form 12.950(a) located online at: https://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/533/urlt/950a.pdf, and submit it to the court where there is an existing cause of action, judgment, or decree of record pertaining to the child’s residence or time-sharing schedule to ratify the new agreement.

If consent is not an option, then it will be necessary to submit a motion to relocate your child to the court, schedule a hearing, and prepare to discuss what you believe is in your child’s best interest. The Motion Form 12.950(b) can be located online at: https://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/533/urlt/950b.pdf.

After completing this form, you should file the original with the clerk of the circuit court, and keep a copy for your records.

Additional Resources

For further questions, you may contact the MacDill Legal Office at (813) 828-4421 to schedule an appointment for legal assistance. The legal office schedules appointments for legal assistance every Monday morning for that week, and appointments are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.