Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody

When a parent seeks to relocate with a child more than 50 miles from his or her current residence and the other parent does not agree, the court must make the difficult decision of determining whether the relocation is in the best interest of the child. Such was the situation in the Miami Family Law case Naime v. Corzo , 208 So.3d 296 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016). 

In this case, the mother sought to relocate with the parties’ son from Miami to Port St. Lucie where her new husband got a job as a firefighter and contracted to buy a home. The father opposed the relocation and a trial was held in which the court heard testimony from six other witnesses. 

The trial judge denied the mother’s petition for relocation and further ordered that the child could not relocate outside of Miami-Dade County. The mother appealed the order, arguing the trial court abused its discretion in denying her petition and that it erred in including the prohibition against relocation outside of Miami-Dade County. 

The appellate court disagreed that the trial court abuses its discretion and upheld the decision to deny the relocation, stating “We find no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s order denying the petition for relocation, and to hold otherwise would require us to substitute our judgment and findings for those of the trial court.” 

However, the appellate court agreed with the mother that the trial court erred in including the provision that did not allow relocation from Miami-Dade County. As support for ordering that the trial court amend the order to delete this provision, the appellate court cited the facts that such relief was not requested by the father and the issue was not tried by consent. Further, the prohibition included in the order was contrary to the relocation statute which allows relocation within 50 miles (meaning the mother could legally relocate to Broward County within this radius). 

Understanding how the appellate court reviews trial court decisions in a Miami child custody case is important in developing a strategy for litigation. Consulting with a Miami Family Law Attorney who understands this may be important to the success of your case.