From time to time we will be answering questions from persons who have questions about family law. Sonia from Kissimmee has a question, and she wrote:
“My former husband and I were divorced here in Florida for over a year now and we have two minor children in common; I would like to move back to Puerto Rico because I have strong family ties there. The children’s father would prefer that I do not because he would not be able to visit with the children as often. Can I move?”
Well, to answer this question, it all depends. As a result of you wanting to move the children more than fifty (50) miles away from their place of residence, you would need permission from the father or from the Court.
One possible resolution is to discuss if you and the father are able to come to an agreement to allow you and the children to move to Puerto Rico. One of the most important details that you have to remember is that the agreement must be a written agreement. The agreement must state that both parties are consenting to the relocation of the minor children to move with the primary parent to Puerto Rico. The agreement must specifically state what type of visitation the minor children are going to have with the father, and any transportation arrangements that are going to be made. In this situation, one should determine: When are the children going to be able to visit with their father? Are the parties going to alternate Christmas Break, Spring Break and other holidays? Is the father going to have the entire summer vacation with the children? Who is going to be responsible for the cost of plane tickets; is the father going to be solely responsible or are the parties going to split the cost equally? Once the agreement is drafted, signed and notarized, then the proper procedure needs to be taken in order to have this agreement ratified by the Court.
If the father is not in agreement to allow the children to relocate to Puerto Rico the first thing that needs to be done is a Notice of Intent to Relocate. The purpose of the Notice of Intent to Relocate is to inform the other parent in writing of your proposed relocation of the minor children. There are several requirements that must be met in the Notice of Intent to Relocate, and this can be researched by looking up Florida Statute 61.13001. Just to give you an idea of some of the requirements, here are some:
- A description of the intended new residence (including the state, city and specific address);
- The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address;
- The home telephone number of the new residence, if known;
- The date of move or proposed relocation;
- A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the children, and if a job offer is at issue and it is in written format, then it should be attached to the notice;
- A proposal of the revised relocation schedule.
Again, these are just some of the requirements; there are other provisions that have to be followed in order to properly comply with the Notice of Intent to Relocate. Once this Notice of Intent to Relocate is served properly upon the non-custodial parent, he/she shall have thirty (30) days in order to object to the proposed relocation.
What are some of the things that the Court considers in granting the relocation? Well you have to remember the burden falls on the person seeking the relocation of the minor children. The Court may look at what type of detriment the move will cause the relationship between the minor children and the non-custodial parent, if there has been any interference with visitation in the past, whether or not the person seeking the relocation is the type of parent to promote frequent and continuing contact between the children and the non-custodial parent and any other factors the Court deems important in rendering its decision.
The most important piece of information that can be passed along to you is to BE PATIENT and RESONABLE. Do not take the law into your own hands, because in the end more than likely this will be very detrimental in your wanting to relocate with the children. Keep in mind that you will be best sewed by consulting with and retaining a skilled family law attorney prior to taking any action.