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Do I Need Approval To Relocate In Florida If I Do Not Have Child Custody?


Whether it is a job, family, or other personal reasons that motivate you to move within the State of Florida, you also know that you have legal obligations as the parent of a minor child. Your parenting plan on parental decision making and parenting time, i.e., custody and visitation, was based upon the locations of the primary residences of both parents. Moving will disrupt the delicate balance of transitioning the child between your two households. The parenting plan may no longer be workable because of the distance, so there are statutory requirements for relocation in Florida.

In general, you either need court approval or consent from your child’s other parent before you move. However, there are many additional details to know, especially since there is some confusion about whether a noncustodial parent needs permission from the judge. A Greater Orlando relocation attorney can advise you on how the laws work, though you may benefit from reviewing some basics.

Understanding Custody for Relocation Purposes: Clarification of terminology is in order when looking at laws on relocation and how they pertain to parents. Importantly, child custody refers to how parents make the important decisions regarding how to raise the child. Where the child lives is just one consideration. Parents typically have joint custody for decision making, but the child may primarily reside with one parent for school or other conveniences. The other parent exercises parenting time.

Therefore, it is a mistake to say that you do not have custody just because your child does not live with you. You do share joint custody, so you must follow the laws on relocation. The statute applies if:

  • You are moving more than 50 miles away from the home that was your primary residence at the time a custody order was entered.
  • Your move will not be temporary, so you will be spending at least 60 consecutive days away from your primary residence. 

Options for Relocation: Florida’s statute encourages relocation by agreement, in which the non-moving parent consents to the other’s new residence. You will have to draft the agreement indicating consent, as well as the changes to the time-sharing schedule that results from moving.

If you cannot get consent from your child’s other parent, you will need to file a petition for relocation in court. In the document, you will state all the facts related to your move and request that the court grant your petition. It is necessary to serve your co-parent, who will have 20 days to file a response objecting to location. The dispute will go to a contested hearing, and the judge will apply the child’s best interests standard to make a decision.

Rely on a Central Florida Family Lawyer to Assist with Relocation

It is important to have guidance from a skilled family law attorney if you have to move. Our team at Greater Orlando Family Law will assist with obtaining proper consents and entering court orders, but we are ready to go to court as necessary. To learn more about our legal services, please call 407-377-6399 or go online to schedule a consultation.



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