Florida Law to Relocate Children

by Anonymous Friend from Florida

Michigan mom and child moved to Florida with boyfriend, and now wants to return to Michigan without boyfriend? My friend has asked me to get information on this.

She and her boyfriend lived in Michigan when their son was born.

They then moved to Florida with their son, and now they are not getting along and she would like to return to Michigan without her boyfriend. He says she can't leave without his consent. Is this true?

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous Friend,

It depends. In some circumstances it is considered parental abduction and child endangerment for one parent to relocate with a child without the other parent's consent.

Those circumstances are generally when there is a pending court hearing about child custody or visitation; and when the parents are married. If the child's father has never asserted his paternity, it may be that the father does not have paternal rights.

In Florida if a couple is not married, and has a child together, the father must assert his legal rights to paternity -- paternal rights for unwed fathers are not automatic.

Ways that a biological father can assert his paternal rights include:

• acknowledgment of paternity when the child is born by signing an affidavit;

• the father's name displayed on the child's birth certificate;

• and living as a family and providing support to the child.

If a parent is relocating with a child in order to accept an offer of employment it is generally considered to be a valid reason for relocation.

However, for one parent to relocate with a child for other reasons, such as that parent's own family support system in another state -- this is not generally considered a valid enough reason to relocate without the other parent's consent.

Have a look at Florida's new Supreme Court approved Form 12-950a, Agreement for Relocation of Minor Children to see if it is appropriate for your situation.

Also, have a look at Florida's new Supreme Court approved Form 12-950d, Supplemental Petition to Permit Relocation with Minor Children to see if it is appropriate for your situation.

Florida Statutes 61.3001 addresses Parental Relocation with a Child. The following is part of that Statute:

(3) PETITION TO RELOCATE. — Unless an agreement has been entered as described in subsection (2), a parent or other
person seeking relocation must file a petition to relocate and serve it upon the other parent, and every other person entitled to access to or time-sharing with the child. The pleadings must be in accordance with this section:

(a) The petition to relocate must be signed under oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury and include:

  1. A description of the location of the intended new residence, including the state, city, and specific physical address, if known.

  2. The mailing address of the intended new residence, if not the same as the physical address, if known.

  3. The home telephone number of the intended new residence, if known.

  4. The date of the intended move or proposed relocation.

  5. A detailed statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation. If one of the reasons is based upon a job offer that has been reduced to writing, the written job offer must be attached to the petition.

  6. A proposal for the revised postrelocation schedule for access and time-sharing together with a proposal for the postrelocation transportation arrangements necessary to effectuate time-sharing with the child. Absent the existence of a current, valid order abating, terminating, or restricting access or time-sharing or other good cause predating the petition, failure to comply with this provision renders the petition to relocate legally insufficient.

  7. Substantially the following statement, in all capital letters and in the same size type, or larger, as the type in the remainder of the petition:


Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Florida Law to Relocate Children

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Unmarried Mother Leaving State
by: Anonymous from Florida

My daughter's father and I were never married. We have no court order or visitation set up by the court. He does not have any overnights with her anymore. His name is on the birth certificate. We currently live in Florida, and I would like to move to a different state with my daughter (2.5 years old). Do I need his permission to move? Or if we are just leaving the state temporarily, do I need his permission to take her out of state? Thank you

--As mentioned above, without an established court order or a pending custody or visitation case, your child's father might not have his parental rights established and so I don't think there is any legal requirement for you to get the father or the court's permission to move.

I suggest you make sure that you do not have any legal obligations to notify your child's father before you move by speaking to a lawyer first. Use our popular lawyer referral service (it's free) by clicking on the link above. Good luck. --Staff

Primary Wants To Move With Child To Another State
by: Anonymous from Pensacola, Florida

I am currently living with my 3 year old daughter and my parents in Florida and my 3 year old's father lives in another city that is 180 miles away in the same state. I would like to move with my husband who is in Atlanta, Georgia. My parents will also be moving to Atlanta as well.

I met my ex in college (neither of us is from the city where we met). My ex has established custody and visitation and we currently meet halfway to exchange the child every other weekend. The court has previously allowed me to move back to my hometown after I completed college. I have found a job as a teacher and will be married as well when I move.

Will the courts prevent me from relocating to be with my husband and family? Can my ex prevent me from moving even if the custody agreement states that it is neither for nor against relocating with the child? He has made numerous threats to prevent me from going anywhere and has told me that I cannot go anywhere unless HE says I can.

--I doubt the court will deny a reasonable request to relocate like that. Remember, the overriding guideline for the courts to adhere to is the best interest doctrine for the child. My take, is that from what you've said, I don't see why a court will deny your request. --Staff

Unmarried Bad Relationship Would Like to Leave State
by: Ashley form Florida

I have an 18 month old little girl with a man that is 17 years older than me. He is very controlling and mentally abusive to ME not the child. I have no family or friends here in Florida and would like to move to Michigan where my family is to start a new life. Myself nor the father have "legal" custody of the child. I went to the court house the other day and found out that this can be a very time consuming and expensive ordeal to gain custody.

The father tells me one day that I can leave with her and then the next day says if I do her will report her abducted. I am truly mentally drained by this man and can not handle living with him much longer, but I have never dealt with the court system ever before. I do not know what to do!!!! Please help- Ashley

--Please read through this page in its entirety. Your question has already been answered here. In a nutshell, if you two are unmarried and there are no court orders for visitation or custody in place, you are free to move with your baby wherever you see fit, and if there is abusive behavior, you can reach out for help. Good luck. --Staff

Moving Back to FL
by: Anonymous

I have a custody agreenment with my ex husband. We moved from Florida to Pennsylvania about two years ago. After a year and a half he moved to Denver, CO for a job offer. He left me and my children behind.

Now I would like to move back to FL. I sent him a petition to move to FL. He did not answer it. If I lived more than 10 years in FL and my children were born and raised there. Isn't that enough proof that is in the best interest for the kids?

--I'm not sure I understand about the petition you sent him that he did not answer. If Pennsylvania operates in the same way as Florida, you should be able to get a final judgement from a PA court as long as you followed proper procedure. Check with a local PA lawyer for advice on how to proceed. Use our free lawyer referral service, it works nationwide, not just in Florida. Good luck. --Staff

Unmarried Father Filed Petition of Paternity
by: Anonymous

I have a 9 month old and was never married to the father. He is on the birth certificate. She was born in Florida.

The father and I split up because he was untruthful during our relationship. When I was 6 months pregnant I got laid off from my full time job, and moved in with him and his mother (he told me it was his house and his mother lived with him, but I found out later that was not the case).

After over a year of claiming that he would get a place for him, myself, and the baby together - it never happened. He claimed he was working and at the same time looking for better job opportunities, but that never happened either.

His mother was the one working and provided financially for my child's father, AND my child. I provided what I could on my unemployment benefits. Eventually I started working again and was providing health insurance for our daughter and financially while he stayed at home with her. His mother worked every day as well.

Eventually, because of post-partum depression I was released from my job. Because of the lack of financial support from the father, the emotional instability, and my own financial and emotional situation I would like to relocate with my daughter out of state to PA where I have family and better opportunities to move on with my life and provide for my daughter.

My ex is a great father - he just can not provide for himself financially, is supported by his mother, and does not even have his own transportation. I have been working and/or looking for work since she has been born and provided for her financially when I could even while unemployed. He basically refuses to work.

I recently found a well paying job in Pennsylvania, and my grandmother will watch my daughter while I am at work so she will not have to go to daycare.

In order to stop me from relocating, the father has filed a petition of paternity (however I have not actually been served). Considering that I already have a job offer, and that his petition has been filed but not yet "processed", can I still relocate with her, or do I have to leave her in Florida until we go to court?

I can't risk losing a job, but I do not want to leave my daughter. But if I stay in Florida I am essentially homeless with no friends or family. HELP!

--I see nothing in your story that can keep you from doing what you need to do for yourself and your daughter. As long as you are not breaking any laws or court orders, I don't see why a move to PA with your daughter for employment reasons is unlawful.

It is up to the father of your daughter to assert his parental rights, but I still don't see how he can convince a court from preventing you with moving on with your life and providing for your child.

If you still feel uneasy, why not just get some legal advice. Take advantage of the free lawyer referral service on our site. Many lawyers offer free and low cost consultations (see link above). Best wishes to you and your daughter. --Staff

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