« Florida Family Rules & Forms: 2009 Changes | Main | Florida Child Support & Imputed Income »

September 21, 2009


Pamela S. Wynn

This blog provides general legal information, not legal advice. In situations like this however, you should always start with what the last court order says.

A Facebook User

I have been in Illinois since July 2011 WITHOUT my child. I left my son in the care of his father, because he would not allow him to move with me. I am planning to move back to Florida now to be with him and the father is only allowing me to see him every other weekend, will not allow me to see him every weekend. Before I moved I had him Monday-Thursday and he had him every weekend. Now he is saying that what I did by moving up here was illegal, even though I had his written permission to come up here to live. I need some help. He said if I want to fight this that he is willing to with the full backing of his family. He says that I needed to have legal permission to move. I need some answers!


I am currently seperated and no divorce papers have been filed. I left my husband and house (which is in a foreclosure status) in september 2010 with my children, ages now are 19 and 12. I currently live with my mother in florida. I would like to relocate to South Carolina with my youngest child and start a new life. Is there a child relocation statute with seperation? I am unsure the course of action that is needed to make this move.


Hello, Pamela.. I have a few questions.. I am married and my Husband and I have 3 children together.. ages 10, 5, and 3.. My Husband has been violent toward me and there is a history of Domestic Violence.. I was granted a one year injunction against him, however, he has time-sharing rights every other weekend.. My problem is this: I am wanting to relocate with all three of my children to Virginia before Christmas.. I have lost a great deal here, including a still-born, and the death of my Mom (in March).. I want to move to Virginia to be with close friends and some family members, and for my medical reasons.. (I have been diagnosed with cancer).. I have yet to file for my divorce, but do know that the Judge who will handle my divorce is the same Judge who granted my injuntion against my Husband.. what are my chances that I WILL be allowed to relocate to another state, considering the fact that although he has time-sharing, he has a violent history and has been served with a one year injunction (He is NOT allowed to even know where I live as it is kept Confidential; and he has violated on 3 orders of the injunction.. no enrolled in his court ordered Batterer's Intervention Program, nor has he paid child support, and he has failed to pick the children up for his visitations on Wednesdays for the last month).. any advice? Thank You

Pamela S. Wynn

Carly - all of the child support and timesharing information on this blog applies to all parents- divorcing or never married.


Hi Pamela,

I'm not sure if my particular case fits your blog, given that I have never been divorced, but I am in desperate need of help! I have a 10 week old son with my ex-boyfriend (never married!). He was present in the hospital to sign the birth certificate and my son has his last name (I was pressured into it). We still live together and have tried to make our relationship work for the sake of our son, but there is no hope left in the situation. He is the only family I have down here... all of my family and friends are in PA. I feel that me wanting to relocate to PA would be the best thing for my son, not only just to be around his grandparents and such, but because my ex and I are constantly fighting nowadays and that is not an environment I want him to grow up in. Since we have never been married, would it be possible for me to move back to PA? Please, any advice will help. Thank you!!

Pamela S. Wynn

It is his burden to prove that the move will benefit your child. However, you'll need to be ready to present evidence that shows your son's best interest is to remain here. List the factors out on paper and start making a list of evidence for each one.


I am the non-custodial parent and my ex-husband wants to relocate to Wyoming with our 15yr old son. My son stated that he wants to go, but I have concerns with him going. My son has a 14yr old sister (mine and my ex-husbands), who has lived with me for approximately for three years (she has no desire to move with her father), and a half-sibling (she is mine with another person). I am very concerned about the impact that this will have on his 14yr old sister as she does not want her brother to go, but does not care if her father goes. There is also the very real possibility that his 3yr old half-sister will end up forgetting him. Also, the majority of his family is here in Florida. I am also concerned about the possibility of his father beating him again (there has been several allegations against him for child abuse), and that I might not see my son very often (his father has denied me visitation previously).

Something else is that my ex-husband is not employed and has not been for over a year (his new wife has been supporting him). In his petition to relocate he has not stated the reason for his relocation nor has he stated how the proposed relocation would benefit our son in any way. The reason he is moving to Wyoming is because his new wife supposedly was unable to find employment here in Florida or anyplace that is closer. My ex-husband has included in the petition that he is wanting me to pay for the transportation for our son and 14yr old daughter to and from on Spring Break and Christmas. I am a single stay-at-home mother with no income of my own. My fiance is the one that pays all of my bills, and it is not his responsibility to pay for their transportation as they are not his children. What are your suggestions?

Pamela S. Wynn

Hi Kristi -

In different areas this is handled differently - either by a Stipulation signed by both of you and approved with an order from the judge or by submitting an Agreed Order for the judge to sign.



Thank you so much for this blog. I am relocating with my son June 4, 2010. I filed the intent to relocate with the court on 3/11/2010, also notified the father by certified mail on same day. He has not filed his ojection as of today and is not planning to. I called the court and my paperwork is filed with the court. I filed the Intent to relocate forms from your site along with all the suggested relocation items pertaining to custody and support. Now what do I do? I can't find a form to put in a motion to have the Judge rafity intent to relocate or an order to do so. I don't need a court date as it is not contested but no one in Lee County seems to know how to help or can provide me with a form I need to have the judge sign an order. I hope this makes some sense. I am just not sure what I need to fill out next to have the Judge sign it into order as it is just sitting in a file at the courthouse now?

Thanks, Kristi

Pamela S. Wynn


The blog is only able to provide you with legal information. When it comes to applying the law to specific facts, you need to consult an attorney for legal advice.

You can check out my replies to George and Jennifer - the same will apply to your case. The court looks at the factors from the child's perspective, but each judge or magistrate has preferences.

Also be aware that once you have a final judgment, there generally must be a substantial change in circumstances that makes a different parenting plan in your child's best interest.

The Florida Supreme Court decided a relocation case last week. You can find the decision here

This is an ideal time to consult an experienced family attorney in your area about your judge's views on the relocation law as well as how the law applies to your situation.

Representing yourself doesn't mean doing it all by yourself.


I am going to be divorced in 11 days and want to petition for relocation from Florida to Texas. I do not have any family in Florida, my soon-to-be-ex is an alcoholic and has been abusive and I am filing for an injunction next week. He just moved to the west coast of Florida and although will have visitation upon the divorce being final, does not express much interest in seeing our 9 yr old daughter. He does not have a driver's license and is on probation for recent MV convictions. Although he has a father, brother and relatives in the town I live in, they have not had any contact with him, me or our daughter for over 5 years, My stbx has just recently contacted his father to try and make amends. His whole family has dependency issues and does not associate with one another. I have recently reconnected with an old sweetheart from high school and we have seen each other and spent some time together. He has a very good job, has been a single father for the past 4 years, raising 2 daughters and wants my daughter and I to move to his home. I am a legal assistant and would be able to find a job where he lives. We would like to be married. What are my chances that I would be granted the relocation?

Pamela S. Wynn

Florida law changed in 2008 and there is no longer a "residential parent." The relocation law was changed to reflect that we don't have the concept of primary residence any more.

You may want to look at some posts talking about this change


Jennifer Byrkit

My ex-husband is refusing to return the children after their scheduled summer visitation. He has since filed for modification (June 2009 he filed). He filed a notice to relocate in Dec 2009. Is the notice to relocate just for the primary residential parent? I have filed an objection already to the relocation notice. One of my points was he is not the primary residential parent along with a few others. He moved them 1300 miles away and did not inform me of said move. Can a parent who does not have custody file this notice and remove the children from their residential state during a pending custody battle?

Pamela S. Wynn

The relocation factors and procedures apply to any parent who wants to move a child more than 50 miles away when the other parent does not agree.

Age is just one of the factors a court is required to consider in a contested relocation case. Florida Statute 61.13001(7) has a list of all the factors. Over on the sidebar there is a link to Florida laws where you can look up the whole list.

Although the procedure changed in 2009, the factors are still same. We did a series last year that talks about all the relocation factors. I'll post it as a related post.


How does the age of a child affect how to proceed with relocation. My 17 year old son, a junior in highschool, lives with me 100% of the time. His father does not exercise the visitation agreement even though he only lives 1 1/2 miles from where we currently reside. The child does not care to stay the night with his father, stepmother and her four children. I might add at this point, their home is in foreclosure - and no notice has been given as to where they will be moving to. My son does stop to visit his dad once in awhile, maybe for an hour - two at the most with my encouragement.

My fiancee' lives in another state, and is welcoming the two of us to relocate to his place of residence. He has even offered to place him in a top rate private school. My son has expressed an interest in doing this, also.

The difficulty being, my ex - is not only a controlling individual, but vindictive if he is not allowed to control the situation. Should my son & I decide that relocation is in our best interest, are we required to follow the same procedures?

Pamela S. Wynn

We can only give general info here on the blog, so here are some tips to keep in mind with relocation cases.

1. It's all about the kids and maintaining the bond with the NCP. If your alternate plan keeps the same quality of visits, your chances increase. A parent who sees the kids several times a week is in a different situation from one who sees them several times a month.

Think in terms of what your kids can share during time with the NCP now and how those activities will be impacted by the move. For example, it would be difficult to keep the same quality of visits if the NCP is close enough to come to soccer weekly games and parent night at school and the move was out of state.

2. Improved conditions in the new location can sometimes be key to your child's best interest, but this will usually not be a compelling enough reason on its own. I think with special needs children this can be a more important factor, but not at the expense of a relationship with the other parent. Compiling admissible evidence of the improved conditions is crucial here.

3. Having said all that, Florida law grants much discretion to judges, so your actual chances often come down to knowing how your judge (or magistrate) views the issues.

This is a good situation to take advantage of Florida's unbundled legal services and have a consultation with a local attorney experienced in Family law in your area. He or she can guide you in your search for evidence as well as discuss how your judge views the issues.


I am the custodial parent, the non custodial parent has since moved to the east coast of the state (approx 150 miles away) she does exersize her every other weekend visitation. I have been unable to find work here in Fl I have found great employment in Md, I have put together a visitation plan that offers a 27% increase in visitation, we also have a special needs child (6) the school system is much better equipped for special needs children than here in Fl. How important is it that mom lives 150 miles away also she moved there because her boy friend could not find work here (he is in the same trade as me) what are my chances?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Save Smart!

  • Get My Free Kit

    Make Smart Divorce Decisions

    What You Need to Know About Getting Divorced in Florida

Parenting Course

  • florida-coparenting-banner2

Help Your Child